(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Children's Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer's comrade)"

PUBLIC LIBRARY JHE BRANCH LIBRAmE^^ 



3 3333 08125 2252 






Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2007 with funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 



http://www.archive.org/details/adventuresofhuck00twai2 




HUCKLEBERRY FINN 



C- 1 ■--• — )rvettn 



■iiiiillllllillilllillliiiilililllllllllllllillllllllllllllllllillllllllllllllllllllllllllillllllllllllllllllllllllllllll^^^^^^^^^ 

THE ADVENTURES OF | 

HUCKLEBERRY FINN | 

(TOM sawyer's comrade) 1 



scene: the MISSISSIPPI valley 
time: forty to fifty years ago 



BY 

MARK TWAIN 

(SAMLHU L. CLHMKNS) 




i HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS 
I NEW YORK AND LONDON 



Books by 
MARK TWAIN 

LLMP LEATHER 



The American Claimant. 

12mo 
Christian Science. 12mo 
A Connecticut Yankee in 

King Arthur's Court. 

12mo 
Following the Equator. 

Vol. I. 12mo 
Following the Equator. 

Vol. II. 12mo 
The Gilded Age. Vol. I. 

12mo 
The Gilded Age. Vol. II. 

12mo 
The Man that Corrupted 

Hadleyburg. 12nio 
The Adventures of Huck- 
leberry Finn. 12mo 
The Innocents Abroad. 

Vol. I. 12mo 
The Innocents Abroad. 

Vol. II. 12mo 



Joan of Arc. Vol. I. 12mo 
Joan OF Arc. Vol.11. 12mo 
Life on the Mississippi. 

12mo 
The Prince and the Pauper 

12mo 
Pudd'nhead Wilson. 12mo 
Roughing It. Vol. I. 12mo 
Roughing It. Vol. II. 12mo 
Sketches New and Old. 

12mo 
The $30,000 Bequest, etc. 

12mo 
Tom Sawyer Abroad. 12mo 
The Adventures of Tom 

Sawyer. 12mo 
A Tramp Abroad. Vol. I. 

12mo. 
A Tramp Abroad. Vol. II. 

12mo 



HARPER & BROTHERS, NEW YORK 



Copyright, 1884, by Samuel L. Clemens 

Copyright. 1896 and 1899, by Harper & Brothers 

Copyright. 191 2. by Clara Gabrilowitsch 

Printed in the United States of America 



r 



CITY Oe MEW YORK *- '^ 



Jl 55^50 



/ 



CONTENTS 



CHAP. PAGE 

Notice , vii 

Explanatory ix 

I. I Discover Moses and the Bulrushers .... i 

II. Our Gang's Dark Oath 6 

III. We Ambuscade the A-rabs 15 

IV. The Hair-ball Oracle 21 

V. Pap Starts in on a New Life 26 

VI. Pap Struggles with the Death Angel .... 32 

VII. I Fool Pap and Get Away 42 

VIII. I Spare Miss Watson's Jim 51 

IX. The House of Death Floats By 66 

X. What Comes of Handlin' Snake-skin .... 72 

XI. They're After Us! 77 

XII. "Better Let Blame Well Alone" 88 

XIII. Honest Loot from the "Walter Scott" ... 98 

XIV. Was Solomon Wise? 106 

XV. Fooling Poor Old Jim 112 

XVI. The Rattlesnake-skin Does Its Work .... 121 

XVII. The Grangerfords Take Me In 133 

XVIII. Why Harney Rode Away for His Hat . . . 146 

XIX. The Duke and the Dauphin Come Aboard ... 163 

XX. What Royalty Did to Parkville 175 

XXI. An Arkansaw Difficulty 188 

XXII. Why the Lynching Bee Failed 201 

XXIII. The Orneriness of Kings 209 

XXIV. The King Turns Parson 217 

XXV. All Full of Tears and Flapdoodle 226 



CONTENTS 

CHAP. PAGE 

XXVI. I Steal the King's Plunder 237 

XXVII. Dead Peter has His Gold 248 

XXVIII. Overreaching Don't Pay 258 

XXIX. I Light Out in the Storm 271 

XXX. The Gold Saves the Thieves 285 

XXXI. You Can't Pray a Lie 290 

XXXII. I Have a New Name .' 303 

XXXIII. The Pitiful Ending of Royalty 312 

XXXIV. We Cheer Up Jim 322 

XXXV. Dark, Deep-laid Plans 330 

XXXVI. Trying to Help Jim 340 

XXXVII. Jim Gets His Witch-pie 348 

XXXVIII. "Here a Captive Heart Busted" .... 357 

XXXIX. Tom Writes Nonnamous Letters 366 

XL. A MiXED-up AND Splendid Rescue .... 374 

XLI. "Must 'a' Been Sperits" 383 

XLII. Why They Didn't Hang Jim 392 

Chapter the Last. Nothing More to Write 403 



NOTICE 

Persons attempting to find a motive in this narra- 
tive will be prosecuted ; persons attempting to find a 
moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to 
find a plot in it will be shot. 

By Order of the Author, 
Per G. G., Chief of Ordnance. 



EXPLANATORY 

IN this book a number of dialects are used, to wit : 
the Missouri negro dialect; the extremest form of 
the backwoods Southwestern dialect; the ordinary 
"Pike County" dialect; and four modified varieties 
of this last. The shadings have not been done in 
a haphazard fashion, or by guesswork; but pains- 
takingly, and with the trustworthy guidance and 
support of personal familiarity with these several 
forms of speech. 

I make this explanation for the reason that without 
it many readers would suppose that all these char- 
acters were trying to talk alike and not succeeding. 

The Author, 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 



CHAPTER I 

YOU don't know about me without you have read 
a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom 
Sawyer; but that ain't no matter. That book was 
made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, 
mainly. There was things which he stretched, but 
mainly he told the truth. That is nothing. I never 
seen anybody but lied one time or another, without it 
was Aunt Polly, or the widow, or maybe Mary. 
Aunt Polly — Tom's Aunt Polly, she is — and Mary, 
and the Widow Douglas is all told about in that 
book, which is mostly a true book, with some 
stretchers, as I said before. 

Now the way that the book winds up is this : Tom 
and me found the money that the robbers hid in the 
cave, and it made us rich. We got six thousand 
dollars apiece — all gold. It was an awful sight of 
money when it was piled up. Well, Judge Thatcher 
he took it and put it out at interest, and it fetched us 
a dollar a day apiece all the year round — more than 
a body could tell what to do with. The Widow 
Douglas she took me for her son, and allov/ed she 

I 



MARK TWAIN 

would sivilize me; but it was rough living in the 
house all the time, considering how dismal regular 
and decent the widow was in all her ways; and so 
when I couldn't stand it no longer I lit out. I got 
into my old rags and my sugar-hogshead again, and 
was free and satisfied. But Tom Sawyer he hunted 
me up and said he was going to start a band of 
robbers, and I might join if I would go back to the 
widow and be respectable. So I went back. 

The widow she cried over me, and called me a poor 
lost lamb, and she called me a lot of other names, 
too, but she never meant no harm by it. She put me 
in them new clothes again, and I couldn't do nothing 
but sweat and sweat, and feel all cramped up. Well, 
then, the old thing commenced again. The widow 
rung a bell for supper, and you had to come to time. 
When you got to the table you couldn't go right to 
eating, but you had to wait for the widow to tuck 
down her head and grumble a little over the victuals, 
though there warn't really anything the matter with 
them — that is, nothing only everything was cooked 
by itself. In a bairel of odds and ends it is different ; 
things get mixed up, and the juice kind of swaps 
around, and the things go better. 

After supper she got out her book and learned me 
about Moses and the Bulrushers, and I was in a sweat 
to find out all about him; but by and by she let it out 
that Moses had been dead a considerable long time; 
so then I didn't care no more about him, because I 
don't take no stock in dead people. 

Pretty soon I wanted to smoke, and asked the 
widow to let me. But she wouldn't. She said it 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

was a mean practice and wasn't clean, and I must try- 
to not do it any more. That is just the way with 
some people. They get down on a thing when they 
don't know nothing about it. Here she was a- 
bothering about Moses, which was no kin to her, and 
no use to anybody, being gone, you see, yet finding a 
power of fault with me for doing a thing that had 
some good in it. And she took snuff, too ; of course 
that was all right, because she done it herself. 

Her sister, Miss Watson, a tolerable slim old maid, 
with goggles on, had just come to live with her, and 
took a set at me now with a spelling-book. She 
worked me middling hard for about an hour, and then 
the widow made her ease up. I couldn't stood it 
much longer. Then for an hour it was deadly dull, 
and I was fidgety. Miss Watson would say, "Don't 
put your feet up there. Huckleberry"; and ''Don't 
scrunch up like that. Huckleberry — set up straight" ; 
and pretty soon she would say, "Don't gap and 
stretch like that. Huckleberry — why don't you try to 
behave?" Then she told me all about the bad place, 
and I said I wished I was there. She got mad then, 
but I didn't mean no harm. All I wanted was to go 
somewheres; all I wanted was a change, I warn't 
particular. She said it was wicked to say what I said ; 
said she wouldn't say it for the whole world ; she was 
going to live so as to go to the good place. Well, I 
couldn't see no advantage in going where she was 
going, so I made up my mind I wouldn't try for it. 
But I never said so, because it would only make 
trouble, and wouldn't do no good. 

Now she had got a start, and she went on and told 
3 



MARK TWAIN 

me all about the good place. She said all a body 
would have to do there was to go around all day long 
with a harp and sing, forever and ever. So I didn't 
think much of it. But I never said so. I asked her if 
she reckoned Tom Sawyer would go there, and she 
said not by a considerable sight. I was glad about 
that, because I wanted him and me to be together. 

Miss Watson she kept pecking at me, and it got 
tiresome and lonesome. By and by they fetched the 
niggers in and had prayers, and then everybody was 
off to bed. I went up to my room with a piece of 
candle, and put it on the table. Then I set down in a 
chair by the window and tried to think of something 
cheerful, but it warn't no use. I felt so lonesome I 
most wished I was dead. The stars were shining, and 
the leaves rustled in the woods ever so mournful ; and 
I heard an owl, away off, who-whooing about some- 
body that was dead, and a whippowill and a dog cry- 
ing about somebody that was going to die; and the 
wind was trying to whisper something to me, and I 
couldn't make out what it was, and so it made the 
cold shivers run over me. Then away out in the 
woods I heard that kind of a sound that a ghost 
makes when it wants to tell about something that's 
on its mind and can't make itself understood, and so 
can't rest easy in its grave, and has to go about that 
way every night grieving. I got so downhearted 
and scared I did wish I had some company. Pretty 
soon a spider went crawling up my shoulder, and I 
flipped it off and it lit in the candle; and before I 
could budge it was all shriveled up. I didn't need 
anybody to tell me that that was an awful bad sign 

4 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

and would fetch me some bad luck, so I was scared 
and most shook the clothes off of me. I got up 
and turned around in my tracks three times and 
crossed my breast every time; and then I tied up a 
little lock of my hair with a thread to keep witches 
away. But I hadn't no confidence. You do that 
when you've lost a horseshoe that you've found, 
instead of nailing it up over the door, but I hadn't 
ever heard anybody say it was any way to keep off 
bad luck when you'd killed a spider. 

I set down again, a-shaking all over, and got out 
my pipe for a smoke; for the house was all as still as 
death now, and so the widow wouldn't know. Well, 
after a long time I heard the clock away off in the 
town go boom — boom — boom — twelve licks; and 
all still again — stiller than ever. Pretty soon I heard 
a twig snap down in the dark amongst the trees — 
something was a-stirring. I set still and listened. 
Directly I could just barely hear a "me-yow! me- 
yowT' down there. That was good! Says I, ''me- 
yow! me-yow!" as soft as I could, and then I put 
out the light and scrambled out of the window on to 
the shed. Then I sHpped down to the ground and 
crawled in among the trees, and, sure enough, there 
was Tom Sawyer waiting for me. 



CHAPTER II 

WE went tiptoeing along a path amongst the 
trees back toward the end of the widow's 
garden, stooping down so as the branches wouldn't 
scrape our heads. When we was passing by the 
kitchen I fell over a root and made a noise. We 
scrouched down and laid still. Miss Watson's big 
nigger, named Jim, was setting in the kitchen door; 
we could see him pretty clear, because there was a 
light behind him. He got up and stretched his neck 
out about a minute, listening. Then he says: 

"Who dah?" 

He listened some more ; then he came tiptoeing down 
and stood right between us; we could 'a' touched 
him, nearly. Well, likely it was minutes and minutes 
that there warn't a sound, and we all there so close 
together. There was a place on my ankle that got to 
itching, but I dasn't scratch it ; and then my ear begun 
to itch; and next my back, right between my shoul- 
ders. Seemed like I'd die if I couldn't scratch. Well, 
I've noticed that thing plenty times since. If you are 
with the quality, or at a funeral, or trying to go to 
sleep when you ain't sleepy — if you are anywheres 
where it won't do for you to scratch, why you will itch 
all over in upward of a thousand places. Pretty soon 
Jim says: 

6 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

*'Say, who is you? Whar is you? Dog my cats 
ef I didn' hear sumf 'n. Well, I know what I's gwyne 
to do: I's gwyne to set down here and listen tell I 
hears it ag'in." 

So he set down on the ground betwixt me and Tom. 
He leaned his back up against a tree, and stretched 
his legs out till one of them most touched one of mine. 
My nose begun to itch. It itched till the tears come 
into my eyes. But I dasn't scratch. Then it begun 
to itch on the inside. Next I got to itching under- 
neath. I didn't know how I was going to set still. 
This miserableness went on as much as six or seven 
minutes; but it seemed a sight longer than that. I 
was itching in eleven different places now. I 
reckoned I couldn't stand it more'n a minute longer, 
but I set my teeth hard and got ready to try. Just 
then Jim begun to breathe heavy; next he begun 
to snore — and then I was pretty soon comfortable 
again. 

Tom he made a sign to me — kind of a little noise 
with his mouth — and we went creeping away on our 
hands and knees. When we was ten foot off Tom 
whispered to me, and wanted to tie Jim to the tree for 
fun. But I said no; he might wake and make a dis- 
turbance, and then they'd find out I warn't in. Then 
Tom said he hadn't got candles enough, and he would 
slip in the kitchen and get some more. I didn't want 
him to try. I said Jim might wake up and come. 
But Tom wanted to resk it; so we slid in there and 
got three candles, and Tom laid five cents on the 
table for pay. Then we got out, and I was in a sweat 
to get away; but nothing would do Tom but he 



MARK TWAIN 

must crawl to where Jim was, on his hands and 
knees, and play something on him. I waited, and 
it seemed a good while, everything was so still and 
lonesome. 

As soon as Tom was back we cut along the path, 
around the gai-den fence, and by and by fetched up on 
the steep top of the hill the other side of the house. 
Tom said he sHpped Jim's hat off of his head and hung 
it on a hmb right over him, and Jim stirred a little, 
but he didn't wake. Afterward Jim said the witches 
bewitched him and put him in a trance, and rode him 
all over the state, and then set him under the trees 
again, and hung his hat on a limb to show who done 
it. And next time Jim told it he said they rode him 
down to New Orleans ; and, after that, every time he 
told it he spread it more and more, till by and by he 
said they rode him all over the world, and tired him 
most to death, and his back was all over saddle-boils. 
Jim was monstrous proud about it, and he got so he 
wouldn't hardly notice the other niggers. Niggers 
would come miles to hear Jim tell about it, and he was 
more looked up to than any nigger in that country. 
Strange niggers would stand with their mouths open 
and look him all over, same as if he was a wonder. 
Niggers is always talking about witches in the dark by 
the kitchen fire; but whenever one was talking and 
letting on to know all about such things, Jim would 
happen in and say, "Hm! What you know 'bout 
watches?" and that nigger was corked up and had to 
take a back seat. Jim always kept that five-center 
piece roimd his neck with a string, and said it was a 
charm the devil give to him with his own hands, and 

8 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

told him he could cure anybody with it and fetch 
witches whenever he wanted to just by saying some- 
thing to it ; but he never told what it was he said to it. 
Niggers would come from all around there and give 
Jim anything they had, just for a sight of that five- 
center piece; but they wouldn't touch it, because the 
devil had had his hands on it. Jim was most ruined 
for a servant, because he got stuck up on account of 
having seen the devil and been rode by witches. 

Well, when Tom and me got to the edge of the hill- 
top we looked away down into the village and could 
see three or four lights twinkling, where there was 
sick folks, maybe; and the stars over us was spark- 
ling ever so fine; and down by the village was the 
river, a whole mile broad, and awful still and grand. 
We went down the hill and found Joe Harper and Ben 
Rogers, and two or three more of the boys, hid in the 
old tanyard. So we unhitched a skiff and pulled 
down the river two mile and a half, to the big scar 
on the hillside, and went ashore. 

We went to a clump of bushes, and Tom made 
everybod}^ swear to keep the secret, and then showed 
them a hole in the hill, right in the thickest part of the 
bushes. Then we lit the candles, and crawled in on 
our hands and knees. We went about two hundred 
yards, and then the cave opened up. Tom poked 
about amongst the passages, and pretty soon ducked 
under a wall where you wouldn't 'a' noticed that there 
was a hole. We went along a narrow place and got 
into a kind of room, all damp and sweaty and cold, 
and there we stopped. Tom says: 

**Now, we'll start this band of robbers and call it 
9 



MARK TWAIN 

Tom Sa^vyer's Gang. Everybody that wants to join 
has got to take an oath, and write his name in blood." 

Everybody was wilhng. So Tom got out a sheet of 
paper that he had wrote the oath on, and read it. It 
swore every boy to stick to the band, and never tell 
any of the secrets ; and if anybod}^ done anything to 
any boy in the band, whichever boy was ordered to 
kill that person and his family must do it, and he 
mustn't eat and he mustn't sleep till he had killed 
them and hacked a cross in their breasts, which was 
the sign of the band. And nobody that didn't belong 
to the band could use that mark, and if he did he 
must be sued; and if he done it again he must be 
killed. And if anybody that belonged to the band 
told the secrets, he must have his throat cut, and then 
have his carcass burnt up and the ashes scattered all 
around, and his name blotted off the list with blood 
and never mentioned again by the gang, but have a 
curse put on it and be forgot forever. 

Everybody said it was a real beautiful oath, and 
asked Tom if he got it out of his own head. He said 
some of it, but the rest was out of pirate-books and 
robber-books, and every gang that was high-toned 
had it. 

Some thought it would be good to kill the families 
of boys that told the secrets. Tom said it was a good 
idea, so he took a pencil and wrote it in. Then Ben 
Rogers says : 

Here's Huck Finn, he hain't got no family ; what 
you going to do 'bout him?" 

"Well, hain't he got a father?" says Tom Sawyer. 

"Yes, he's got a father, but you can't never find 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

him these days. He used to lay drunk with the hogs 
in the tanyard, but he hain't been seen in these parts 
for a year or more." 

They talked it over, and they was going to rule me 
out, because they said every boy must have a family 
or somebody to kill, or else it wouldn't be fair and 
square for the others. Well, nobody could think of 
anything to do — everybody was stumped, and set 
still. I was most ready to cry; but all at once I 
thought of a way, and so I offered them Miss Watson 
— they could kill her. Everybody said: 

''Oh, she'll do. That's all right. Huck can come 
li." 

Then they all stuck a pin in their fingers to get 
blood to sign with, and I made my mark on the paper. 

"Now," says Ben Rogers, "what's the line of 
business of this Gang?" 

"Nothing only robbery and murder," Tom said. 

"But who are we going to rob? — houses, or cattle, 
or — " 

"Stuff! stealing cattle and such things ain't rob- 
bery; it's burglary," says Tom Sawyer. "We ain't 
burglars. That ain't no sort of style. We are high- 
waymen. We stop stages and carriages on the road, 
with masks on, and kill the people and take their 
watches and money." 

"Must we always kill the people?" 

"Oh, certainly. It's best. Some authorities think 
different, but mostly it's considered best to kill them 
— except some, that you bring to the cave here, and 
keep them till they're ransomed." 

"Ransomed? What's that?" 
II 



MARK TWAIN 

"I don't know. But that's what they do. I've 
seen it in books; and so of course that's what we've 
got to do." 

"But how can we do it if we don't know what it is ?'* 

"Why, blame it all, we've got to do it. Don't I tell 
you it's in the books? Do you want to go to doing 
different from what's in the books, and get things all 
muddled up?" 

"Oh, that's all very fine to say, Tom Sawyer, but 
how in the nation are these fellows going to be ran- 
somed if we don't know how to do it to them? — that's 
the thing I want to get at. Now, what do you reckon 
it is?" 

"Well, I don't know. But per'aps if we keep them 
till they're ransomed, it means that we keep them till 
they're dead." 

"Now, that's something like. That'll answer. 
Why couldn't you said that before ? We'll keep them 
till they're ransomed to death ; and a bothersome lot 
they'll be, too — eating up everything, and always 
trying to get loose." 

"How you talk, Ben Rogers. How can they get 
loose when there's a guard over them, ready to shoot 
them down if they move a peg?" 

"A guard! Well, that is good. So somebody's 
got to set up all night and never get any sleep, just so 
as to watch them. I think that's foolishness. Why 
can't a body take a club and ransom them as soon as 
they get here?" 

"Because it ain't in the books so — that's why. 
Now, Ben Rogers, do you want to do things regular, 
or don't you? — that's the idea. Don't you reckon 

12 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

that the people that made the books knows what's the 
correct thing to do? Do you reckon you can learn 
'em anything? Not by a good deal. No, sir, we'll 
just go on and ransom them in the regular way." 

*'A11 right. I don't mind; but I say it's a fool 
way, anyhow. Say, do we kill the women, too?" 

''Well, Ben Rogers, if I was as ignorant as you I 
wouldn't let on. Kill the women ? No; nobody ever 
saw anything in the books like that. You fetch them 
to the cave, and you're always as polite as pie to 
them; and by and by they fall in love with you, and 
never want to go home any more." 

*'V^ell, if that's the way I'm agreed, but I don't 
take no stock in it. Mighty soon we'll have the cave 
so cluttered up with women, and fellows waiting to be 
ransomed, that there won't be no place for the rob- 
bers. But go ahead, I ain't got nothing to say." 

Little Tommy Barnes was asleep now, and when 
they waked him up he was scared, and cried, and said 
he wanted to go home to his ma, and didn't want to 
be a robber any more. 

So they all made fun of him, and called him cry- 
baby, and that made him mad, and he said he would 
go straight and tell all the secrets. But Tom give him 
five cents to keep quiet, and said we would all go 
home and meet next week, and rob somebody and 
kill some people. 

Ben Rogers said he couldn't get out much, only 
Sundays, and so he wanted to begin next Sunday; 
but all the boys said it would be wicked to do it on 
Sunday, and that settled the thing. They agreed to 
get together and fix a day as soon as they could, and 

13 



MARK TWAIN 

then we elected Tom Sawyer first captain and Joe 
Harper second captain of the Gang, and so started 
home. 

I dumb up the shed and crept into my window just 
before day was breaking. My new clothes was all 
greased up and clayey, and I was dog-tired. 



CHAPTER III 

WELL, I got a good going-over in the morning 
from old Miss Watson on account of my 
clothes; but the widow she didn't scold, but only 
cleaned off the grease and clay, and looked so sorry 
that I thought I would behave awhile if I could. 
Then Miss Watson she took me in the closet and 
prayed, but nothing come of it. She told me to pray 
every day, and whatever I asked for I would get it. 
But it warn't so. I tried it. Once I got a fish-line, 
but no hooks. It warn't any good to me without 
hooks. I tried for the hooks three or four times, but 
somehow I couldn't make it work. By and by, one 
day, I asked Miss Watson to try for me, but she said 
I was a fool. She never told me why, and I couldn't 
make it out no way. 

I set down one time back in the woods, and had 
a long think about it. I says to myself, if a body can 
get anything they pray for, why don't Deacon Winn 
get back the money he lost on pork? Why can't the 
widow get back her silver snuff-box that was stole? 
Why can't Miss Watson fat up? No, says I to my- 
self, there ain't nothing in it. I went and told the 
widow about it, and she said the thing a body could 
get by praying for it was "spiritual gifts." This was 
too many for me, but she told me what she meant — I 

15 



MARK TWAIN 

must help other people, and do everything I could for 
other people, and look out for them all the time, and 
never think about myself. This was including Miss 
Watson, as I took it. I went out in the woods and 
turned it over in my mind a long time, but I couldn't 
see no advantage about it — except for the other peo- 
ple; so at last I reckoned I wouldn't worry about it 
any more, but just let it go. Sometimes the widow 
would take me one side and talk about Providence in 
a way to make a body's mouth water; but maybe 
next day Miss Watson would take hold and knock it 
all down again. I judged I could see that there was 
two Providences, and a poor chap would stand con- 
siderable show with the widow's Providence, but if 
Miss Watson's got him there warn't no help for him 
any more. I thought it all out, and reckoned I 
would belong to the widow's if he wanted me, though 
I couldn't make out how he was a-going to be any 
better off then than what he was before, seeing I was 
so ignorant, and so kind of low-down and ornery. 

Pap he hadn't been seen for more than a year, and 
that was comfortable for me; I didn't want to see him 
no more. He used to always whale me when he was 
sober and could get his hands on me; though I used 
to take to the woods most of the time when he was 
around. Well, about this time he was found in the 
river drownded, about twelve mile above town, so 
people said. They judged it was him, anyway; said 
this drownded man was just his size, and was ragged, 
and had uncommon long hair, which was all like pap ; 
but they couldn't make nothing out of the face, be- 
cause it had been in the water so long it warn't much 

i6 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

like a face at all. They said he was floating on his 
back in the water. They took him and buried him on 
the bank. But I warn't comfortable long, because I 
happened to think of something. I knowed mighty 
well that a drownded man don't float on his back, but 
on his face. So I knowed, then, that this warn't pap, 
but a woman dressed up in a man's clothes. So I was 
uncomfortable again. I judged the old man would 
turn up again by and by, though I wished he 
wouldn't. 

We played robber now and then about a month, 
and then I resigned. All the boys did. We hadn't 
robbed nobody, hadn't killed any people, but only 
just pretended. We used to hop out of the woods 
and go charging down on hog-drivers and women in 
carts taking garden stuff to market, but we never 
hived any of them. Tom Sawyer called the hogs 
"ingots," and he called the turnips and stuff *'ju- 
lery," and we would go to the cave and powwow over 
what we had done, and how many people we had 
killed and marked. But I couldn't see no profit in 
it. One time Tom sent a boy to run about town 
with a blazing stick, which he called a slogan (which 
was the sign for the Gang to get together), and then 
he said he had got secret news by his spies that next 
day a whole parcel of Spanish merchants and rich 
A-rabs was going to camp in Cave Hollow with two 
hundred elephants, and six hundred camels, and 
over a thousand "sumter" mules, all loaded down 
with di'monds, and they didn't have only a guard of 
four hundred soldiers, and so we would lay in am- 
buscade, as he called it, and kill the lot and scoop 

17 



MARK TWAIN 

the things. He said we must sHck up our swords 
and guns, and get ready. He never could go after 
even a turnip-cart but he must have the swords and 
guns all scoured up for it, though they was only lath 
and broomsticks, and you might scour at them till you 
rotted, and then they warn't worth a mouthful of 
ashes more than what they was before. I didn't 
believe we could lick such a crowd of Spaniards and 
A-rabs, but I wanted to see the camels and elephants, 
so I was on hand next day, Saturday, in the ambus- 
cade; and when we got the word we rushed out of 
the woods and down the hill. But there warn't no 
Spaniards and A-rabs, and there warn't no camels 
nor no elephants. It warn't anything but a Sunday- 
school picnic, and only a primer class at that. We 
busted it up, and chased the children up the hollow; 
but we never got anything but some doughnuts and 
jam, though Ben Rogers got a rag doll, and Joe 
Harper got a hymn-book and a tract; and then the 
teacher charged in, and made us drop everything and 
cut. I didn't see no di'monds, and I told Tom 
Sawyer so. He said there was loads of them there, 
anyway; and he said there was A-rabs there, too, 
and elephants and things. I said, why couldn't we 
see them, then? He said if I warn't so ignorant, but 
had read a book called Don Quixote, I would know 
without asking. He said it was all done by enchant- 
ment. He said there was hundreds of soldiers there, 
and elephants and treasure, and so on, but we had 
enemies which he called magicians, and they had 
turned the whole thing into an infant Sunday-school, 
just out of spite. I said, all right; then the thing 

i8 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

for us to do was to go for the magicians. Tom 
Sawyer said I was a numskull. 

"Why," said he, *'a magician could call up a lot 
of genies, and they would hash you up like nothing 
before you could say Jack Robinson. They are as 
tall as a tree and as big around as a church." 

"Well," I says, "s'pose we got some genies to 
help us — can't we lick the other crowd then?" 
"How you going to get them?" 
"I don't know. How do they get them?" 
"Why, they rub an old tin lamp or an iron ring, 
and then the genies come tearing in, with the thunder 
and lightning a-ripping around and the smoke 
a-rolling, and everything they're told to do they up 
and do it. They don't think nothing of pulling a 
shot-tower up by the roots, and belting a Sunday- 
school superintendent over the head with it — or any 
other man." 

"Who makes them tear around so?" 
"Why, whoever rubs the lamp or the ring. They 
belong to whoever rubs the lamp or the ring, and 
they've got to do whatever he says. If he tells 
them to build a palace forty miles long out of 
di'monds, and fill it full of chewing-gum, or what- 
ever you want, and fetch an emperor's daughter 
from China for you to marry, they've got to do it 
— and they've got to do it before sun-up next morn- 
ing,, too. And more: they've got to waltz that 
palace around over the country wherever you want 
it, you understand." 

"Well," says I, "I think they are a pack of flat- 
heads for not keeping the palace themselves 'stead 

19 



MARK TWAIN 

of fooling them away like that. And what's more — 
if I was one of them I would see a man in Jericho 
before I would drop my business and come to him 
for the rubbing of an old tin lamp." 

"How you talk, Huck Finn. Why, you'd have to 
come when he rubbed it, whether you wanted to 
or not." 

"What! and I as high as a tree and as big as a 
church? All right, then; I would come; but I lay 
I'd make that man climb the highest tree there 
was in the country." 

"Shucks, it ain't no use to talk to you, Huck Finn. 
You don't seem to know anything, somehow — 
perfect saphead." 

I thought all this over for two or three days, and 
then I reckoned I would see if there was anything 
in it. I got an old tin lamp and an iron ring, and 
went out in the woods and rubbed and rubbed till 
I sweat like an Injun, calculating to build a palace 
and sell it; but it warn't no use, none of the genies 
come. So then I judged that all that stuff was only 
just one of Tom Sawyer's lies. I reckoned he 
believed in the A-rabs and the elephants, but as 
for me I think different. It had all the marks of a 
Sunday-school. 



CHAPTER IV 

WELL, three or four months run along, and it 
was well into the winter now. I had been to 
school most all the time and could spell and read 
and write just a little, and could say the multiplica- 
tion table up to six times seven is thirty-five, and I 
don't reckon I could ever get any further than that 
if I was to live forever. I don't take no stock in 
mathematics, anyway. 

At first I hated the school, but by and by I got 
so I could stand it. Whenever I got uncommon 
tired I played hookey, and the hiding I got next 
day done me good and cheered me up. So the 
longer I went to school the easier it got to be. I 
was getting sort of used to the widow's ways, too, 
and they warn't so raspy on me. Living in a house 
and sleeping in a bed pulled on me pretty tight 
mostly, but before the cold weather I used to slide 
out and sleep in the woods sometimes, and so that 
was a rest to me. I liked the old ways best, but 
I was getting so I liked the new ones, too, a little 
bit. The widow said I was coming along slow but 
sure, and doing very satisfactory. She said she 
warn't ashamed of me. 

One morning I happened to turn over the salt- 
cellar at breakfast. I reached for some of it ^.s 



MARK TWAIN 

quick as I could to throw over my left shoulder and 
keep off the bad luck, but Miss Watson was in ahead 
of me, and crossed me off. She says, "Take your 
hands away, Huckleberry; what a mess you are 
always making!" The widow put in a good word 
for me, but that warn't going to keep off the bad 
luck, I knowed that well enough. I started out, 
after breakfast, feeling worried and shaky, and 
wondering where it was going to fall on me, and 
what it was going to be. There is ways to keep off 
some kinds of bad luck, but this wasn't one of them 
kind; so I never tried to do anything, but just poked 
along low-spirited and on the watch-out. 

I went down to the front garden and dumb over 
the stile where you go through the high board fence. 
There was an inch of new snow on the ground, and 
I seen somebody's tracks. They had come up from 
the quarry and stood around the stile awhile, and 
then went on around the garden fence. It was 
funny they hadn't come in, after standing around 
so. I couldn't make it out. It was very curious, 
somehow. I was going to follow around, but I 
stooped down to look at the tracks first. I didn't 
notice anything at first, but next I did. There was 
a cross in the left boot-heel made with big nails, to 
keep off the devil. 

I was up in a second and shinning down the hill. 
I looked over my shoulder every now and then, 
but I didn't see nobody. I was at Judge Thatcher's 
as quick as I could get there. He said: 

"Why, my boy, you are all out of breath. Did 
you come for your interest?" 

22 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

"No, sir," I says; "is there some for me?" 

"Oh, yes, a half-yearly is in last night — over a 
hundred and fifty dollars. Quite a fortune for you. 
You had better let me invest it along with your 
six thousand, because if you take it you'll spend it." 

"No, sir," I says, "I don't want to spend it. I 
don't want it at all — nor the six thousand, nuther. 
I want you to take it ; I want to give it to you — the 
six thousand and all." 

He looked surprised. He couldn't seem to make 
it out. He says: 

"Why, what can you mean, my boy?" 

I says, "Don't you ask me no questions about 
it, please. You'll take it — won't you?" 

He says : 

"Well, I'm puzzled. Is something the matter?" 

"Please take it," says I, "and don't ask me noth- 
ing — then I won't have to tell no lies." 

He studied awhile, and then he says: 

"Oho-o! I think I see. You want to sell all 
your property to me — not give it. That's the 
correct idea." 

Then he wrote something on a paper and read 
it over, and says: 

"There; you see it says 'for a consideration.* 
That means I have bought it of you and paid you 
for it. Here's a dollar for you. Now you sign it." 

So I signed it, and left. 

Miss Watson's nigger, Jim, had a hair-ball as big 
as your first, which had been took out of the fourth 
stomach of an ox, and he used to do magic with it. 
He said there was a spirit inside of it, and it knowed 

3 23 



MARK TWAIN 

everything. So I went to him that night and tokl 
him pap was here again, for I found his tracks in the 
snow. What I wanted to know was, what he was 
going to do, and was he going to stay ? Jim got out 
his hair-ball and said something over it, and then 
he held it up and dropped it on the floor. It fell 
pretty solid, and only rolled about an inch. Jim 
tried it again, and then another time, and it acted 
just the same. Jim got down on his knees, and put 
his ear against it and listened. But it warn't no 
use; he said it wouldn't talk. He said sometimes it 
wouldn't talk without money. I told him I had an 
old slick counterfeit quarter that warn't no good 
because the brass showed through the silver a little, 
and it wouldn't pass nohow, even if the brass didn't 
show, because it was so slick it felt greasy, and so 
that would tell on it every time. (I reckoned I 
wouldn't say nothing about the dollar I got from the 
judge.) I said it was pretty bad money, but maybe 
the hair-ball would take it, because maybe it wouldn't 
know the difference. Jim smelt it and bit it and 
rubbed it, and said he would manage so the hair- 
ball would think it was good. He said he would 
split open a raw Irish potato and stick the quarter 
in between and keep it there all night, and next 
morning you couldn't see no brass, and it wouldn't 
feel greasy no more, and so anybody in town would 
take it in a minute, let alone a hair-ball. Well, 
I knowed a potato would do that before, but I had 
forgot it. 

Jim put the quarter under the hair-ball, and got 
down and Hstened again. This time he said the 

24 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

hair-ball was all right. He said it would tell my 
whole fortune if I wanted it to. I says, go on. So 
the hair-ball talked to Jim, and Jim told it to me. 
He says : 

"Yo' ole father doan' know yit what he's a-gwyne 
to do. Sometimes he spec he'll go 'way, en den 
ag'in he spec he'll stay. De bes' way is to res' easy 
en let de ole man take his own way. Dey's two 
angels hoverin' roun' 'bout him. One uv 'em is 
white en shiny, en t'other one is black. De white 
one gits him to go right a little while, den de black 
one sail in en bust it all up. A body can't tell yit 
which one gwyne to fetch him at de las*. But you 
is all right. You gwyne to have considable trouble 
in yo' life, en considable joy. Sometimes you gwyne 
to git hurt, en sometimes you gwyne to git sick; 
but every time you's gwyne to git well ag'in. Dey's 
two gals flyin' 'bout you in yo' life. One uv 'em's 
light en t'other one is dark. One is rich en t'other 
is po'. You's gwyne to marry de po' one fust en 
de rich one by en by. You wants to keep 'way 
fum de water as much as you kin, en don't run no 
resk, 'kase it's down in de bills dat you's gwyne to 
git hung." 

When I lit my candle and went up to my room 
that night there sat pap — his own self! 



CHAPTER V 

J HAD shut the door to. Then I turned around, 
and there he was. I used to be scared of him 
all the time, he tanned me so much. I reckoned I 
was scared now, too; but in a minute I see I was 
mistaken — that is, after the first jolt, as you may 
say, when my breath sort of hitched, he being so 
unexpected; but right away after I see I warn't 
scared of him worth bothring about. 

He was most fifty, and he looked it. His hair was 
long and tangled and greasy, and hung down, and 
you could see his eyes shining through like he was 
behind vines. It was all black, no gray; so was his 
long, mixed-up whiskers. There warn't no color in 
his face, where his face showed; it was white; not 
like another man's white, but a white to make a 
body sick, a white to make a body's flesh crawl — a 
tree-toad white, a fish-belly white. As for his clothes 
— just rags, that was all. He had one ankle resting 
on t'other knee; the boot on that foot was busted, 
and two of his toes stuck through, and he worked 
them now and then. His hat was laying on the floor 
— an old black slouch with the top caved in, like a lid. 

I stood a-looking at him; he set there a-looking 
at me, with his chair tilted back a little. I set the 
candle down, I noticed the window was up; so he 

26 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

had dumb in by the shed. He kept a-looking me 
all over. By and by he says: 

"Starchy clothes — very. You think you're a good 
deal of a big-bug, don't you?" 

"Maybe I am, maybe I ain't," I says. 

"Don't you give me none o' your lip," says he. 
"You've put on considerable many frills since I been 
away. I'll take you down a peg before I get done 
with you. You're educated, too, they say — can read 
and write. You think you're better'n your father, 
now, don't you, because he can't? Til take it out of 
you. Who told you you might meddle with such 
hifalut'n foolishness, hey ?— who told you you could ?" 

"The widow. She told me." 

"The widow, hey? — and who told the widow she 
could put in her shovel about a thing that ain't none 
of her business?" 

"Nobody never told her." 

"Well, I'll learn her how to meddle. And looky 
here — you drop that school, you hear? I'll learn 
people to bring up a boy to put on airs over his own 
father and let on to be better'n what he is. You 
lemme catch you fooling around that school again, 
you hear? Your mother couldn't read, and she 
couldn't write, nuther, before she died. None of the 
family couldn't before they died. I can't; and here 
you're a-swelling yourself up like this. I ain't the man 
to stand it — you hear? Say, lemme hear you read." 

I took up a book and begun something about Gen- 
eral Washington and the wars. When I'd read about 
a half a minute, he fetched the book a whack with his 
hand and knocked it across the house. He says : 

27 



MARK TWAIN 

"It's so. You can do it. I had my doubts when 
you told me. Now looky here ; you stop that putting 
on frills. I won't have it. I'll lay for you, my 
smarty; and if I catch you about that school I'll tan 
you good. First you know you'll get reHgion, too. I 
never see such a son." 

He took up a little blue and yaller picture of some 
cows and a boy, and says: 

"What's this?" 

"It's something they give me for learning my 
lessons good." 

He tore it up, and says: 

"I'll give you something better — I'll give you a 
cowhide." 

He set there a-mumbling and a-growling a minute, 
and then he says : 

''Ain't you a sweet-scented dandy, though? A 
bed ; and bedclothes ; and a look'n '-glass ; and a piece 
of carpet on the floor — and your own father got to 
sleep with the hogs in the tanyard. I never see such a 
son. I bet I'll take some o' these frills out o' you 
before I'm done with you. Why, there ain't no end to 
your airs — they say you're rich. Hey ? — how's that ?" 

"They lie — that's how." 

"Looky here — mind how you talk to me; I'm 
a-standing about all I can stand now — so don't gimme 
no sass. I've been in town two days, and I hain't 
heard nothing but about you bein' rich. I heard 
about it away down the river, too. That's why I 
come. You git me that money to-morrow — I want 
it." 

"I hain't got no money." 
28 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

"It's a lie. Judge Thatcher's got it. You git it. 
I want it." 

' * I hain't got no money, I tell you. You ask Judge 
Thatcher; he'll tell you the same." 

"All right. I'll ask him; and I'll make him pungle, 
too, or I'll know the reason why. Say, how much 
you got in your pocket? I want it." 

"I hain't got only a dollar, and I want that to — " 

"It don't make no difference what you want it for 
— you just shell it out." 

He took it and bit it to see if it was good, and then 
he said he was going down-town to get some whisky ; 
said he hadn't had a drink all day. When he had got 
out on the shed he put his head in again, and cussed 
me for putting on frills and trying to be better than 
him ; and when I reckoned he was gone he come back 
and put his head in again, and told me to mind about 
that school, because he was going to lay for me and 
lick me if I didn't drop that. 

Next day he was drunk, and he went to Judge 
Thatcher's and bullyragged him, and tried to make 
him give up the money ; but he couldn't, and then he 
swore he'd make the law force him. 

The judge and the widow went to law to get the 
court to take me away from him and let one of them 
be my guardian ; but it was a new judge that had just 
come, and he didn't know the old man; so he said 
courts mustn't interfere and separate families if they 
could help it ; said he'd druther not take a child away 
from its father. So Judge Thatcher and the widow 
had to quit on the business. 

That pleased the old man till he couldn't rest. He 
29 



MARK TWAIN 

said he'd cowhide me till I was black and blue if I 
didn't raise some money for him. I borrowed three 
dollars from Judge Thatcher, and pap took it and got 
drunk, and went a-blowing around and cussing and 
whooping and carrying on ; and he kept it up all over 
town, with a tin pan, till most midnight; then they 
jailed him, and next day they had him before court, 
and jailed him again for a week. But he said he was 
satisfied ; said he was boss of his son, and he'd make 
it warm for him. 

When he got out the new judge said he was a-going 
to make a man of him. So he took him to his own 
house, and dressed him up clean and nice, and had 
him to breakfast and dinner and supper with the 
family, and was just old pie to him, so to speak. And 
after supper he talked to him about temperance and 
such things till the old man cried, and said he'd been 
a fool, and fooled away his life; but now he was 
a-going to turn over a new leaf and be a man nobody 
wouldn't be ashamed of, and he hoped the judge 
would help him and not look down on him. The 
judge said he could hug him for them words; so he 
cried, and his wife she cried again; pap said he'd been 
a man that had always been misunderstood before, 
and the judge said he believed it. The old man said 
that what a man wanted that was down was sym- 
pathy, and the judge said it was so; so they cried 
again. And when it was bedtime the old man rose 
up and held out his hand, and says: 

"Look at it, gentlemen and ladies all; take a-hold 
of it; shake it. There's a hand that was the hand of 
a hog; but it ain't so no more ; it's the hand of a man 

30 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

that's started in on a new life, and '11 die before he'll 
go back. You mark them words — don't forget I said 
them. It's a clean hand now; shake it — don't be 
afeard." 

So they shook it, one after the other, all around, 
and cried. The judge's wife she kissed it. Then the 
old man he signed a pledge — made his mark. The 
judge said it was the holiest time on record, or some- 
thing like that. Then they tucked the old man into 
a beautiful room, which was the spare room, and in 
the night some time he got powerful thirsty and 
dumb out on to the porch-roof and slid down a 
stanchion and traded his new coat for a jug of forty- 
rod, and dumb back again and had a good old time; 
and toward daylight he crawled out again, drunk as 
a fiddler, and rolled off the porch and broke his left 
arm in two places, and was most froze to death when 
somebody found him after sun-up. And when they 
come to look at that spare room they had to take 
soundings before they could navigate it. 

The judge he felt kind of sore. He said he reckoned 
a body could reform the old man with a shotgun, 
maybe, but he didn't know no other way. 



CHAPTER VI 

WELL, pretty soon the old man was up and 
around again, and then he went for Judge 
Thatcher in the courts to make him give up that 
money, and he went for me, too, for not stopping 
school. He catched me a couple of times and 
thrashed me, but I went to school just the same, and 
dodged him or outrun him most of the time. I 
didn't want to go to school much before, but I 
reckoned I'd go now to spite pap. That law trial 
was a slow business — appeared like they warn't ever 
going to get started on it; so every now and then 
I'd borrow two or three dollars off of the judge for 
him, to keep from getting a cowhiding. Every time 
he got money he got drunk; and every time he got 
drunk he raised Cain around town; and every time 
he raised Cain he got jailed. He was just suited — 
this kind of thing was right in his line. 

He got to hanging around the widow's too much, 
and so she told him at last that if he didn't quit using 
around there she would make trouble for him. Well, 
wasn't he mad? He said he would show who was 
Huck Finn's boss. So he watched out for me one day 
in the spring, and catched me, and took me up the 
river about three mile in a skiff, and crossed over to 
the Illinois shore where it was woody and there warn't 

32 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

no houses but an old log hut in a place where the 
timber was so thick you couldn't find it if you didn't 
know where it was. 

He kept me with him all the time, and I never got a 
chance to run off. We lived in that old cabin, and he 
always locked the door and put the key under his 
head nights. He had a gun which he had stole, I 
reckon, and we fished and hunted, and that was what 
we lived on. Every little while he locked me in and 
went down to the store, three miles, to the ferry, and 
traded fish and game for whisky, and fetched it home 
and got drunk and had a good time, and licked me. 
The widow she found out where I was by and by, and 
she sent a man over to try to get hold of me ; but pap 
drove him off with the gun, and it warn't long after 
that till I was used to being where I was, and liked 
it — all but the cowhide part. 

It was kind of lazy and jolly, laying off comfort- 
able all day, smoking and fishing, and no books nor 
study. Two months or more run along, and my 
clothes got to be all rags and dirt, and I didn't see 
how I'd ever got to like it so well at the widow's, 
where you had to wash, and eat on a plate, and comb 
up, and go to bed and get up regular, and be forever 
bothering over a book, and have old Miss Watson 
pecking at you all the time. I didn't want to go 
back no more. I had stopped cussing, because the 
widow didn't like it; but now I took to it again 
because pap hadn't no objections. It was pretty 
good times up in the woods there, take it all around. 

But by and by pap got too handy with his hick'ry, 
and I couldn't stand it, I was all over welts. He 

33 



MARK TWAIN 

got to going away so much, too, and locking me in. 
Once he locked me in and was gone three days. It 
was dreadful lonesome. I judged he had got 
drownded, and I wasn't ever going to get out any 
more. I was scared. I made up my mind I would 
fix up some way to leave there. I had tried to get 
out of that cabin many a time, but I couldn't find 
no way. There warn't a window to it big enough 
for a dog to get through. I couldn't get up the 
chimbly; it was too narrow. The door was thick, 
solid oak slabs. Pap was pretty careful not to leave 
a knife or anything in the cabin when he was away; 
I reckon I had hunted the place over as much as a 
hundred times; well, I was most all the time at it, 
because it was about the only way to put in the time. 
But this time I found something at last; I found an 
old rusty wood-saw without any handle; it was laid 
in between a rafter and the clapboards of the roof. 
I greased it up and went to work. There was an old 
horse-blanket nailed against the logs at the far end 
of the cabin behind the table, to keep the wind 
from blowing through the chinks and putting the 
candle out. I got under the table and raised the 
blanket, and went to work to saw a section of the 
big bottom log out — big enough to let me through. 
Well, it was a good long job, but I was getting 
toward the end of it when I heard pap's gun in the 
woods. I got rid of the signs of my work, and 
dropped the blanket and hid my saw, and pretty 
soon pap come in. 

Pap warn't in a good humor — so he was his natural 
self. He said he was down-town, and everything was 

34 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

going wrong. His lawyer said he reckoned he would 
win his lawsuit and get the money if they ever got 
started on the trial ; but then there was ways to put it 
off a long time, and Judge Thatcher knowed how to 
do it. And he said people allowed there 'd be another 
trial to get me away from him and give me to the 
widow for my guardian, and they guessed it would 
win this time. This shook me up considerable, be- 
cause I didn't want to go back to the widow's any 
more and be so cramped up and sivilized, as they 
called it. Then the old man got to cussing, and 
cussed everything and everybody he could think of, 
and then cussed them all over again to make sure he 
hadn't skipped any, and after that he polished off 
with a kind of a general cuss all round, including a 
considerable parcel of people which he didn't know 
the names of, and so called them what's-his-name 
when he got to them, and went right along with his 
cussing. 

He said he would like to see the widow get me. 
He said he would watch out, and if they tried to 
come any such game on him he knowed of a place 
six or seven mile off to stow me in, where they might 
hunt till they dropped and they couldn't find me. 
That made me pretty uneasy again, but only for a 
minute; I reckoned I wouldn't stay on hand till he 
got that chance. 

The old man made me go to the skiff and fetch 
the things he had got. There was a fifty-pound sack 
of com meal, and a side of bacon, ammunition, and 
a four-gallon jug of whisky, and an old book and 
two newspapers for wadding, besides some tow. I 

35 



MARK TWAIN 

toted up a load, and went back and set down on the 
bow of the skiiET to rest. I thought it all over, and 
I reckoned I would walk off with the gun and some 
lines, and take to the woods when I run away. I 
guessed I wouldn't stay in one place, but just tramp 
right across the country, mostly night-times, and 
hunt and fish to keep alive, and so get so far away 
that the old man nor the widow couldn't ever find 
me any more. I judged I would saw out and leave 
that night if pap got drunk enough, and I reckoned 
he would. I got so full of it I didn't notice how 
long I was staying till the old man hollered and asked 
me whether I was asleep or drownded. 

I got the things all up to the cabin, and then it 
was about dark. While I was cooking supper the 
old man took a swig or two and got sort of warmed 
up, and went to ripping again. He had been drunk 
over in town, and laid in the gutter all night, and 
he was a sight to look at. A body would 'a' thought 
he was Adam — he was just all mud. Whenever his 
liquor begun to work he most always went for the 
govment. This time he says: 

"Call this a govment! why, just look at it and 
see what it's like. Here's the law a-standing ready 
to take a man's son away from him — a man's own 
son, which he has had all the trouble and all the 
anxiety and all the expense of raising. Yes, just as 
that man has got that son raised at last, and ready 
to go to work and begin to do suthin' for him and 
give him a rest, the law up and goes for him. And 
they call that govment! That ain't all, nuther. 
The law backs that old Judge Thatcher up and helps 

3^ 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

him to keep me out o' my property. Here's what 
the law does: The law takes a man worth six thou- 
sand dollars and up'ards, and jams him into an old 
trap of a cabin like this, and lets him' go round in 
clothes that ain't fitten for a hog. They call that 
govment! A man can't get his rights in a govment 
like this. Sometimes I've a mighty notion to just 
leave the country for good and all. Yes, and I told 
'em so; I told old Thatcher so to his face. Lots of 
'em heard me, and can tell what I said. Says I, 
for two cents I'd leave the blamed country and never 
come a-near it ag'in. Them's the very words. I 
says, look at my hat — if you call it a hat — but the 
lid raises up and the rest of it goes down till it's 
below my chin, and then it ain't rightly a hat at 
all, but more like my head was shoved up through 
a jint o' stove-pipe. Look at it, says I — such a hat 
for me to wear — one of the wealthiest men in this 
town if I could git my rights. 

"Oh, yes, this is a wonderful govment, wonderful. 
Why, looky here. There was a free nigger there from 
Ohio — a mulatter, most as white as a white man. 
He had the whitest shirt on you ever see, too, and 
the shiniest hat; and there ain't a man in that town 
that's got as fine clothes as what he had; and he had 
a gold watch and chain, and a silver-headed cane — 
the awfulest old gray-headed nabob in the state. 
And what do you think ? They said he was a p'fessor 
in a college, and could talk all kinds of languages, 
and knowed everything. And that ain't the wust. 
They said he could vote when he was at home. Well, 
that let me out. Thinks I, what is the country 

37 



MARK TWAIN 

a-coming to? It was 'lection day, and I was just 
about to go and vote myself if I warn't too drunk 
to get there; but when they told me there was a 
state in this country where they'd let that nigger 
vote, I drawed out. I says I'll never vote ag'in. 
Them's the very words I said; they all heard me; 
and the countr^^ may rot for all me — I'll never vote 
ag'in as long as I live. And to see the cool way of 
that nigger — why, he wouldn't 'a' give me the road 
if I hadn't shoved him out o' the way. I says to 
the people, why ain't this nigger put up at auction 
and sold? — that's what I want to know. And what 
do you reckon they said? Why, they said he 
couldn't be sold till he'd been in the state six months, 
and he hadn't been there that long yet. There, now 
— that's a specimen. They call that a govment that 
can't sell a free nigger till he's been in the state six 
months. Here's a govment that calls itself a gov- 
ment, and lets on to be a govment, and thinks it is 
a govment, and yet's got to set stock-still for six 
whole months before it can take a-hold of a prowling, 
thieving, infernal, white-shirted free nigger, and — " 
Pap was a-going on so he never noticed where his 
old limber legs was taking him to, so he went head 
over heels over the tub of salt pork and barked both 
shins, and the rest of his speech was all the hottest 
kind of language — mostly hove at the nigger and the 
govment, though he give the tub some, too, all along, 
here and there. He hopped around the cabin con- 
siderable, first on one leg and then on the other, 
holding first one shin and then the other one, and at 
last he let out with his left foot all of a sudden and 

38 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

fetched the tub a rattling kick. But it warn't good 
judgment, because that was the boot that had a 
couple of his toes leaking out of the front end of it ; 
so now he raised a howl that fairly made a body's 
hair raise, and down he went in the dirt, and rolled 
there, and held his toes; and the cussing he done 
then laid over anything he had ever done previous. 
He said so his own self afterwards. He had heard 
old Sowberry Hagan in his best days, and he said it 
laid over him, too; but I reckon that was sort of 
piling it on, maybe. 

After supper pap took the jug, and said he had 
enough whisky there for two drunks and one de- 
Hrium tremens. That was always his word. I 
judged he would be blind drunk in about an hour, 
and then I would steal the key, or saw myself out, 
one or t'other. He drank and drank, and tumbled 
down on his blankets by and by; but luck didn't run 
my way. He didn't go sound asleep, but was un- 
easy. He groaned and moaned and thrashed around 
this way and that for a long time. At last I got so 
sleepy I couldn't keep my eyes open all I could do, 
and so before I knowed what I was about I was 
sound asleep, and the candle burning. 

I don't know how long I was asleep, but all of a 
sudden there was an awful scream and I was up. 
There was pap looking wild, and skipping around 
every which way and yelling about snakes. He said 
they was crawling up his legs; and then he would 
give a jump and scream, and say one had bit him 
on the cheek — but I couldn't see no snakes. He 
started and run round and round the cabin, hoUer- 

4 39 



MARK TWAIN 

ing "Take him off! take him off! he's biting me on 
the neck!" I never see a man look so wild in the 
eyes. Pretty soon he was all fagged out, and fell 
down panting; then he rolled over and over won- 
derful fast, kicking things every which way, and 
striking and grabbing at the air with his hands, and 
screaming and saying there was devils a-hold of him. 
He wore out by and by, and laid still awhile, moan- 
ing. Then he laid stiller, and didn't make a sound. 
I could hear the owls and the wolves away off in 
the woods, and it seemed terrible still. He was 
laying over by the corner. By and by he raised up 
part way and listened, with his head to one side. 
He says, very low: 

"Tramp — tramp — tramp; that's the dead; tramp 
— tramp — tramp; they're coming after me; but I 
won't go. Oh,* they're here! don't touch me — don't! 
hands off — they're cold; let go. Oh, let a poor devil 
alone!" 

Then he went down on all fours and crawled off, 
begging them to let him alone, and he rolled himself 
up in his blanket and wallowed in under the old pine 
table, still a-begging; and then he went to crying. 
I could hear him through the blanket. 

By and by he rolled out and jumped up on his 
feet looking wild, and he see me and went for me. 
He chased me round and round the place with a 
clasp-knife, calling me the Angel of Death, and saying 
he would kill me, and then I couldn't come for him 
no more. I begged, and told him I was only Huck; 
but he laughed such a screechy laugh, and roared and 
cussed, and kept on chasing me up. Once when I 

40 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

turned short and dodged under his arm he made a 
grab and got me by the jacket between my shoulders, 
and I thought I was gone ; but I slid out of the jacket 
quick as lightning, and saved myself. Pretty soon 
he was all tired out, and dropped down with his back 
against the door, and said he would rest a minute 
and then kill me. He put his knife under him, and 
said he would sleep and get strong, and then he 
would see who was who. 

So he dozed off pretty soon. By and by I got the 
old split-bottom chair and dumb up as easy as I 
could, not to make any noise, and got down the gun. 
I slipped the ramrod down it to make sure it was 
loaded, and then I laid it across the turnip-barrel, 
pointing towards pap, and set down behind it to wait 
for him to stir. And how slow and still the time did 
drag along. 



CHAPTER VII 

GIT up! What you 'bout?" 
I opened my eyes and looked around, try- 
ing to make out where I was. It was after sun-up, 
and I had been sound asleep. Pap was standing 
over me looking sour — and sick, too. He says: 

**What you doin' with this gun?" 

I judged he didn't know nothing about what he 
had been doing, so I says: 

** Somebody tried to get in, so I was laying for 
him." 

**Why didn't you roust me out?" 

"Well, I tried to, but I couldn't; I couldn't budge 
you." 

"Well, aU right. Don't stand there palavering all 
day, but out with you and see if there's a fish on the 
lines for breakfast. I'll be along in a minute." 

He unlocked the door, and I cleared out up the 
river-bank. I noticed some pieces of limbs and such 
things floating down, and a sprinkling of bark; so I 
knowed the river had begun to rise. I reckoned I 
would have great times now if I was over at the 
town. The June rise used to be always luck for 
me; because as soon as that rise begins here comes 
cordwood floating down, and pieces of log rafts — 
sometimes a dozen logs together; so all you have to 

42 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

do is to catch them and sell them to the woodyards 
and the sawmill. 

I went along up the bank with one eye out for 
pap and t'other one out for what the rise might fetch 
along. Well, all at once here comes a canoe; just 
a beauty, too, about thirteen or fourteen foot long, 
riding high like a duck. I shot head-first off of the 
bank like a frog, clothes and all on, and struck out 
for the canoe. I just expected there'd be somebody 
laying down in it, because people often done that 
to fool folks, and when a chap had pulled a skiff 
out most to it they'd raise up and laugh at him. 
But it warn't so this time. It was a drift-canoe sure 
enough, and I dumb in and paddled her ashore. 
Thinks I, the old man will be glad when he sees this 
— she's worth ten dollars. But when I got to shore 
pap wasn't in sight yet, and as I was running her into 
a little creek like a gully, all hung over with vines 
and willows, I struck another idea: I judged I'd hide 
her good, and then, 'stead of taking to the woods 
when I run off, I'd go down the river about fifty 
mile and camp in one place for good, and not have 
such a rough time tramping on foot. 

It was pretty close to the shanty, and I thought 
I heard the old man coming all the time; but I got 
her hid; and then I out and looked around a bunch 
of willows, and there was the old man down the 
path a piece just drawing a bead on a bird with his 
gun. So he hadn't seen anything. 

When he got along I was hard at it taking up a 
"trot" line. He abused me a Httle for being so 
slow; but I told him I fell in the river, and that was 

43 



MARK TWAIN 

what made me so long. I knowed he would see I 
was wet, and then he would be asking questions. 
We got five catfish off the lines and went home. 

While we laid off after breakfast to sleep up, both 
of us being about wore out, I got to thinking that if I 
could fix up some way to keep pap and the widow 
from trying to follow me, it would be a certainer thing 
than trusting to luck to get far enough off before 
they missed me; you see, all kinds of things might 
happen. Well, I didn't see no way for a while, but 
by and by pap raised up a minute to drink another 
barrel of water, and he says: 

"Another time a man comes a-prowling round here 
you rou^t me out, you hear? That man warn't here 
for no good. I'd a shot him. Next time you roust 
me out, you hear?" 

Then he dropped down and went to sleep again; 
what he had been saying give me the very idea I 
wanted. I says to myself, I can fix it now so nobody 
won't think of following me. 

About twelve o'clock we turned out and went along 
up the bank. The river was coming up pretty fast, 
and lots of driftwood going by on the rise. By and 
by along comes part of a log raft — nine logs fast 
together. We went out with the skiff and towed it 
ashore. Then we had dinner. Anybody but pap 
would 'a' waited and seen the day through, so as to 
catch more stuff; but that warn't pap's style. Nine 
logs was enough for one time; he must shove right 
over to town and sell. So he locked me in and took 
the skiff, and started off towing the raft about half 
past three. I judged he wouldn't come back that 

44 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

night. I waited till I reckoned he had got a good 
start ; then I out with my saw, and went to work on 
that log again. Before he was t'other side of the 
river I was out of the hole ; him and his raft was just a 
speck on the water away off yonder. 

I took the sack of corn meal and took it to where 
the canoe was hid, and shoved the vines and branches 
apart and put it in; then I done the same with the 
side of bacon; then the , whisky-jug. I took all the 
coffee and sugar there was, and all the ammunition ; 
I took the wadding; I took the bucket and gourd; 
took a dipper and a tin cup, and my old saw and two 
blankets, and the skillet and the coffee-pot. I took 
fish-lines and matches and other things — everything 
that was worth a cent. I cleaned out the place. I 
wanted an ax, but there wasn't any, only the one out 
at the woodpile, and I knowed why I was going to 
leave that. I fetched out the gun, and now I was 
done. 

I had wore the ground a good deal crawling out of 
the hole and dragging out so many things. So I 
fixed that as good as I could from the outside by 
scattering dust on the place, which covered up the 
smoothness and the sawdust. Then I fixed the piece 
of log back into its place, and put two rocks under it 
and one against it to hold it there, for it was bent up 
at that place and didn't quite touch ground. If you 
stood four or five foot away and didn't know it was 
sawed, you wouldn't never notice it; and besides, 
this was the back of the cabin, and it warn't likely 
anybody would go fooling around there. 

It was all grass clear to the canoe, so I hadn't left a 
45 



MARK TWAIN 

track. I followed around to see. I stood on the 
bank and looked out over the river. All safe. So I 
took the gun and went up a piece into the woods, and 
was hunting around for some birds when I see a wild 
pig ; hogs soon went wild in them bottoms after they 
had got away from the prairie-farms. I shot this 
fellow and took him into camp. 

I took the ax and smashed in the door. I beat it 
and hacked it considerable a-doing it. I fetched the 
pig in, and took him back nearly to the table and 
hacked into his throat with the ax, and laid him down 
on the ground to bleed ; I say ground because it was 
ground — hard packed, and no boards. Well, next I 
took an old sack and put a lot of big rocks in it — all 
I could drag — and I started it from the pig, and 
dragged it to the door and through the woods down 
to the river and dumped it in, and down it sunk, out 
of sight. You could easy see that something had 
been dragged over the ground. I did wish Tom 
Sawyer was there; I knowed he would take an 
interest in this kind of business, and throw in the 
fancy touches. Nobody could spread himself like 
Tom Sawyer in such a thing as that. 

Well, last I pulled out some of my hair, and blooded 
the ax good, and stuck it on the back side, and slung 
the ax in the corner. Then I took up the pig and held 
him to my breast with my jacket (so he couldn't drip) 
till I got a good piece below the house and then 
dumped him into the river. Now I thought of some- 
thing else. So I went and got the bag of meal and 
my old saw out of the canoe, and fetched them to 
the house. I took the bag to where it used to stand, 

46 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

and ripped a hole in the bottom of it with the saw, 
for there warn't no knives and forks on the place — 
pap done everything with his clasp-knife about the 
cooking. Then I carried the sack about a hundred 
yards across the grass and through the willows east 
of the house, to a shallow lake that was five mile 
wide and full of rushes — and ducks too, you might 
say, in the season. There was a slough or a creek 
leading out of it on the other side that went miles 
away, I don't know where, but it didn't go to the 
river. The meal sifted out and made a little track all 
the way to the lake. I dropped pap's whetstone 
there too, so as to look like it had been done by 
accident. Then I tied up the rip in the meal-sack 
with a string, so it wouldn't leak no more, and 
took it and my saw to the canoe again. 

It was about dark now; so I dropped the canoe 
down the river under some willows that hung over the 
bank, and waited for the moon to rise. I made fast to 
a willow; then I took a bite to eat, and by and by laid 
down in the canoe to smoke a pipe and lay out a plan. 
I says to myself, they'll follow the track of that sack- 
ful of rocks to the shore and then drag the river for 
me. And they'll follow that meal track to the lake 
and go browsing down the creek that leads out of it to 
find the robbers that killed me and took the things. 
They won't ever hunt the river for anything but my 
dead carcass. They'll soon get tired of that, and 
won't bother no more about me. All right; I can 
stop anywhere I want to. Jackson's Island is good 
enough for me; I know that island pretty well, and 
nobody ever comes there. And then I can paddle 

47 



MARK TWAIN 

over to town nights, and slink around and pick up 
things I want. Jackson's Island's the place. 

I was pretty tired, and the first thing I knowed I 
was asleep. When I woke up I didn't know where I 
was for a minute. I set up and looked around, a 
little scared. Then I remembered. The river looked 
miles and miles across. The moon was so bright I 
could 'a' counted the drift-logs that went a-slipping 
along, black and still, hundreds of yards out from 
shore. Everything was dead quiet, and it looked 
late, and smelt late. You know what I mean — I 
don't know the words to put it in. 

I took a good gap and a stretch, and was just going 
to unhitch and start when I heard a sound away over 
the water. I listened. Pretty soon I made it out. It 
was that dull kind of a regular sound that comes from 
oars working in rowlocks when it's a still night. I 
peeped out through the willow branches, and there it 
was — a skiif , away across the water. I couldn't tell 
how many was in it. It kept a-coming, and when it 
was abreast of me I see there warn't but one man in it. 
Thinks I, maybe it's pap, though I warn't expecting 
him. He dropped below me with the current, and 
by and by he came a-swinging up shore in the easy 
water, and he went by so close I could 'a' reached out 
the gun and touched him. Well, it was pap, sure 
enough — and sober, too, by the way he laid his oars. 

I didn't lose no time. The next minute I was 
a-spinning down-stream soft, but quick, in the shade 
of the bank. I made two mile and a half, and then 
struck out a quarter of a mile or more toward the 
middle of the river, because pretty soon I would be 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

passing the ferry-landing, and people might see me 
and hail me. I got out amongst the driftwood, and 
then laid down in the bottom of the canoe and let her 
float. I laid there, and had a good rest and a smoke 
out of my pipe, looking away into the sky; not a 
cloud in it. The sky looks ever so deep when you lay 
down on your back in the moonshine ; I never knowed 
it before. And how far a body can hear on the water 
such nights! I heard people talking at the ferry- 
landing. I heard what they said, too — every word 
of it. One man said it was getting towards the long 
days and the short nights now. T'other one said this 
warn't one of the short ones, he reckoned — and then 
they laughed, and he said it over again, and they 
laughed again; then they waked up another fellow 
and told him, and laughed, but he didn't laugh; he 
ripped out something brisk, and said let him alone. 
The first fellow said he 'lowed to tell it to his old 
woman — she would think it was pretty good ; but he 
said that warn't nothing to some things he had said 
in his time. I heard one man say it was nearly three 
o'clock, and he hoped daylight wouldn't wait more 
than about a week longer. After that the talk got 
further and further away, and I couldn't make out 
the words any more; but I could hear the mumble, 
and now and then a laugh, too, but it seemed a long 
ways off. 

I was away below the ferry now. I rose up, and 
there was Jackson's Island, about two mile and a half 
down-stream, heavy-timbered and standing up out 
of the middle of the river, big and dark and solid, like 
a steamboat without any lights. There warn't any 

49 



MARK TWAIN 

signs of the bar at the head — it was all under water 
now. 

It didn't take me long to get there. I shot past the 
head at a ripping rate, the current was so swift, and 
then I got into the dead water and landed on the side 
towards the Illinois shore. I run the canoe into a deep 
dent in the bank that I knowed about ; I had to part 
the willow branches to get in ; and when I made fast 
nobody could 'a' seen the canoe from the outside. 

I went up and set down on a log at the head of the 
island, and looked out on the big river and the black 
driftwood and away over to the town, three mile 
away, where there was three or four lights twinkling. 
A monstrous big lumber-raft was about a mile up- 
stream, coming along down, with a lantern in the 
middle of it. I watched it come creeping down, and 
when it was most abreast of where I stood I heard a 
man say, "Stern oars, there! heave her head to stab- 
board !" I heard that just as plain as if the man was 
by my side. 

There was a little gray in the sky now ; so I stepped 
into the woods, and laid down for a nap before break- 
fast. 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE sun was up so high when I waked that I 
judged it was after eight o'clock. I laid there 
in the grass and the cool shade thinking about things, 
and feeling rested and ruther comfortable and satis- 
fied. I could see the sun out at one or two holes, but 
mostly it was big trees all about, and gloomy in there 
amongst them. There was freckled places on the 
ground where the light sifted down through the 
leaves, and the freckled places swapped about a little, 
showing there was a little breeze up there. A couple 
of squirrels set on a limb and jabbered at me very 
friendly. 

I was powerful lazy and comfortable — didn't want 
to get up and cook breakfast. Well, I was dozing off 
again when I thinks I hears a deep sound of "boom!" 
away up the river. I rouses up, and rests on my 
elbow and listens; pretty soon I hears it again. I 
hopped up, and went and looked out at a hole in 
the leaves, and I see a bunch of smoke laying on 
the water a long ways up — about abreast the ferry. 
And there was the ferryboat full of people floating 
along down. I knowed what was the matter now. 
**Boom!" I see the white smoke squirt out of the 
ferryboat's side. You see, they was firing cannon 
over the water, trying to make my carcass come to 
the top. 

SI 



MARK TWAIN 

I was pretty hungry, but it warn't going to do for 
me to start a fire, because they might see the smoke. 
So I set there and watched the cannon-smoke and 
listened to the boom. The river was a mile wide 
there, and it always looks pretty on a summer morn- 
ing — so I was having a good enough time seeing them 
hunt for my remainders if I only had a bite to eat. 
Well, then I happened to think how they always put 
quicksilver in loaves of bread and float them off, be- 
cause they always go right to the drownded carcass 
and stop there. So, says I, I'll keep a lookout, and 
if any of them's floating around after me I'll give 
them a show. I changed to the Illinois edge of the 
island to see what luck I could have, and I warn't 
disappointed. A big double loaf come along, and I 
most got it with a long stick, but my foot slipped and 
she floated out further. Of course I was where the 
current set in the closest to the shore — I knowed 
enough for that. But by and by along comes another 
one, and this time I won. I took out the plug and 
shook out the little dab of quicksilver, and set my 
teeth in. It was "baker's bread" — what the quality 
eat; none of your low-down corn-pone. 

I got a good place amongst the leaves, and set there 
on a log, munching the bread and watching the ferry- 
boat, and very well satisfied. And then something 
struck me. I says, now I reckon the widow or the 
parson or somebody prayed that this bread would find 
me, and here it has gone and done it. So there ain't 
no doubt but there is something in that thing — that 
is, there's something in it when a body like the 
widow or the parson prays, but it don't work for 

52 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

me, and I reckon it don't work for only just the 
right kind. 

I Ht a pipe and had a good long smoke, and went 
on watching. The ferryboat was floating with the 
current, and I allowed I'd have a chance to see who 
was aboard when she come along, because she would 
come in close, where the bread did. When she'd got 
pretty well along down towards me, I put out my pipe 
and went to where I fished out the bread, and laid 
down behind a log on the bank in a little open place. 
Where the log forked I could peep through. 

By and by she come along, and she drifted in so 
close that they could 'a' run out a plank and walked 
ashore. Most everybody was on the boat. Pap, and 
Judge Thatcher, and Bessie Thatcher, and Joe Harper, 
and Tom Sawyer, and his old Aunt Polly, and Sid and 
Mary, and plenty more. Everybody was talking 
about the murder, but the captain broke in and says : 

''Look sharp, now; the current sets in the ck)sest 
here, and maybe he's washed ashore and got tangled 
amongst the brush at the water's edge. I hope so, 
anyway." 

I didn't hope so. They all crowded up and leaned 
over the rails, nearly in my face, and kept still, watch- 
ing with all their might. I could see them first-rate, 
but they couldn't see me. Then the captain sung out : 
''Stand away!" and the cannon let off such a blast 
right before me that it made me deef with the noise 
and pretty near blind with the smoke, and I judged 
I was gone. If they'd 'a' had some bullets in, I reckon 
they'd 'a' got the corpse they was after. Well, I see I 
warn't hurt, thanks to goodness. The boat floated on 

S3 



MARK TWAIN 

and went out of sight around the shoulder of the 
island. I could hear the booming now and then, 
further and further off, and by and by, after an hour, 
I didn't hear it no more. The island was three mile 
long. I judged they had got to the foot, and was 
giving it up. But they didn't yet awhile. They 
turned around the foot of the island and started up 
the channel on the Missouri side, under steam, and 
booming once in a while as they went. I crossed over 
to that side and watched them. When they got 
abreast the head of the island they quit shooting and 
dropped over to the Missouri shore and went home 
to the town. 

I knowed I was all right now. Nobody else would 
come a-hunting after me. I got my traps out of the 
canoe and made me a nice camp in the thick woods. 
I made a kind of a tent out of my blankets to put 
my things under so the rain couldn't get at them. I 
catched a catfish and haggled him open with my saw, 
and towards sundown I started my camp-fire and had 
supper. Then I set out a line to catch some fish for 
breakfast. 

When it was dark I set by my camp-fire smoking, 
and feeling pretty well satisfied ; but by and by it got 
sort of lonesome, and so I went and set on the bank 
and listened to the current swashing along, and 
counted the stars and drift-logs and rafts that come 
down, and then went to bed; there ain't no better 
way to put in time when you are lonesome ; you can't 
stay so, you soon get over it. 

And so for three days and nights. No difference — 
just the same thing. But the next day I went explor- 

54 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

ing around down through the island. I was boss of it ; 
it all belonged to me, so to say, and I wanted to know 
all about it ; but mainly I wanted to put in the time. 
I found plenty strawberries, ripe and prime; and 
green summer grapes, and green razberries; and the 
green blackberries was just beginning to show. They 
would all come handy by and by, I judged. 

Well, I went fooling along in the deep woods till I 
judged I warn't far from the foot of the island. I had 
my gun along, but I hadn't shot nothing; it was for 
protection; thought I would kill some game nigh 
home. About this time I mighty near stepped on a 
good-sized snake, and it went sliding off through the 
grass and flowers, and I after it, trying to get a shot 
at it. I clipped along, and all of a sudden I bounded 
right on to the ashes of a camp-fire that was still 
smoking. 

My heart jumped up amongst my lungs. I never 
waited for to look further, but uncocked my gun and 
went sneaking back on my tiptoes as fast as ever I 
could. Every now and then I stopped a second 
amongst the thick leaves and listened, but my breath 
come so hard I couldn't hear nothing else. I slunk 
along another piece further, then listened again ; and 
so on, and so on. If I see a stump, I took it for a man ; 
if I trod on a stick and broke it, it made me feel like 
a person had cut one of my breaths in two and I only 
got half, and the short half, too. 

When I got to camp I warn't feeling very brash, 
there warn't much sand in my craw; but I says, this 
ain't no time to be fooling around. So I got all my 
traps into my canoe again so as to have them out of 

5 55 



MARK TWAIN 

sight, and I put out the fire and scattered the ashes 
around to look Hke an old last-year's camp, and then 
dumb a tree. 

I reckon I was up in the tree two hours; but I 
didn't see nothing, I didn't hear nothing — I only 
thought I heard and seen as much as a thousand 
things. Well, I couldn't stay up there forever; so at 
last I got down, but I kept in the thick woods and on 
the lookout all the time. All I could get to eat was 
berries and what was left over from breakfast. 

By the time it was night I was pretty hungry. So 
when it was good and dark I slid out from shore before 
moonrise and paddled over to the Illinois bank — 
about a quarter of a mile. I went out in the woods 
and cooked a supper, and I had about made up my 
mind I would stay there all night when I hear a 
plunkcty- plunk, plunkety- plunk, and says to myself, 
horses coming; and next I hear people's voices. I got 
everything into the canoe as quick as I could, and 
then went creeping through the woods to see what I 
could find out. I hadn't got far when I hear a man 
say: 

*'We better camp here if we can find a good 
place; the horses is about beat out. Let's look 
around." 

I didn't wait, but shoved out and paddled away 
easy. I tied up in the old place, and reckoned I would 
sleep in the canoe. 

I didn't sleep much. I couldn't, somehow, for 
thinking. And every time I waked up I thought 
somebody had me by the neck. So the sleep didn't 
do me no good. By and by I says to myself, I can't 

S6 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

live this way; I'm a-going to find out who it is that's 
here on the island with me; I'll find it out or bust. 
Well, I felt better right off. 

So I took my paddle and slid out from shore just 
a step or two, and then let the canoe drop along down 
amongst the shadows. The moon was shining, and 
outside of the shadows it made it most as light as 
day. I poked along well on to an hour, everything 
still as rocks and sound asleep. Well, by this time I 
was most down to the foot of the island. A little 
ripply, cool breeze begun to blow, and that was as 
good as saying the night was about done. I give her 
a turn with the paddle and brung her nose to vshore; 
then I got my gun and slipped out and into the edge 
of the woods. I sat down there on a log, and looked 
out through the leaves. I see the moon go off watch, 
and the darkness begin to blanket the river. But in 
a Httle while I see a pale streak over the treetops, 
and knowed the day was coming. So I took my gun 
and slipped off towards where I had run across that 
camp-fire, stopping every minute or two to listen. 
But I hadn't no luck somehow; I couldn't seem to 
find the place. But by and by, sure enough, I catched 
a glimpse of fire away through the trees. I went for 
it, cautious and slow. By and by I was close enough 
to have a look, and there laid a man on the ground. 
It most give me the fantods. He had a blanket 
around his head, and his head was nearly in the fire. 
I set there behind a clump of bushes in about six foot 
of him, and kept my eyes on him steady. It was 
getting gray daylight now. Pretty soon he gapped 
and stretched himself and hove off the blanket, and 

57 



MARK TWAIN 

it was Miss Watson's Jim! I bet I was glad to see 
him. I says: 

"Hello, Jim!" and skipped out. 

He bounced up and stared at me wild. Then he 
drops down on his knees, and puts his hands together 
and says: 

"Doan' hurt me — don't! I hain't ever done no 
harm to a ghos'. I alwuz liked dead people, en done 
all I could for 'em. You go en git in de river ag'in, 
whah you b'longs, en doan' do nuffn to Ole Jim, 'at 
'uz alwuz yo' fren'." 

Well, I warn't long making him understand I 
warn't dead. I was ever so glad to see Jim. I 
warn't lonesome now. I told him I warn't afraid of 
him telling the people where I was. I talked along, 
but he only set there and looked at me; never said 
nothing. Then I says: 

"It's good daylight. Le's get breakfast. Make 
up your camp-fire good." 

"What's de use er makin' up de camp-fire to cook 
strawbries en sich truck? But you got a gun, hain't 
you? Den we kin git sumfn better den strawbries." 

"Strawberries and such truck," I says. "Is that 
what you live on?" 

"I couldn' git nuffn else," he says* 

"Why, how long you been on the island, Jim?" 

"I come heah de night arter you's killed." 

"What, all that time?" 

"Yes-indeedy." 

"And ain't you had nothing but that kind of rub- 
bage to eat?" 

"No, sah— nuffn else." 
58 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

"Well, you must be most starved, ain't you?" 

"I reck'n I could eat a hoss. I think I could. 
How long you ben on de islan' ?" 

"Since the night I got killed." 

"No! W'y, what has you lived on? But you got 
a gun. Oh, yes, you got a gun. Dat's good. Now 
you kill sumfn en I'll make up de fire." 

So we went over to where the canoe was, and while 
he built a fire in a grassy open place amongst the 
trees, I fetched meal and bacon and coffee, and coffee- 
pot and frying-pan, and sugar and tin cups, and the 
nigger was set back considerable, because he reckoned 
it was all done with witchcraft. I catched a good 
big catfish, too, and Jim cleaned him with his knife, 
and fried him. 

When breakfast was ready we lolled on the grass 
and eat it smoking hot. Jim laid it in with all his 
might, for he was most about starved. Then when 
we had got pretty well stuffed, we laid off and 
lazied. 

By and by Jim says : 

"But looky here, Huck, who wuz it dat 'uz killed 
in dat shanty ef it warn't you?" 

Then I told him the whole thing, and he said it was 
smart. He said Tom Sawyer couldn't get up no 
better plan than what I had. Then I says: 

"How do you come to be here, Jim, and how'd you 
get here?" 

He looked pretty uneasy, and didn't say nothing for 
a minute. Then he says: 
"Maybe I better not tell." 
"Why, Jim?" 

59 



MARK TWAIN 

"Well, dey's reasons. But you wouldn' tell on me 
ef I 'uz to tell you, would you, Huck?" 
"Blamed if I would, Jim." 
"Well, I b'lieve you, Huck. I — I run off.'' 

''Jim!" 

"But mind, you said you wouldn' tell — you know 
you said you wouldn' tell, Huck." 

"Well, I did. I said I wouldn't, and I'll stick to it. 
Honest injun, I will. People would call me a low- 
down Abolitionist and despise me for keeping mum — 
but that don't make no difference. I ain't a-going to 
tell, and I ain't a-going back there, anyways. So, 
now, le's know all about it." 

"Well, you see, it 'uz dis way. Ole missus — dat's 
Miss Watson — she pecks on me all de time, en treats 
me pooty rough, but she awluz said she wouldn' sell 
me down to Orleans. But I noticed dey wuz a nigger 
trader roun' de place considable lately, en I begin to 
git oneasy. Well, one night I creeps to de do' pooty 
late, en de do' warn't quite shet, en I hear old missus 
tell de widder she gwyne to sell me down to Orleans, 
but she didn' want to, but she could git eight hund'd 
dollars for me, en it 'uz sich a big stack o' money she 
couldn* resis'. De widder she try to git her to say 
she wouldn't do it, but I never waited to hear de res', 
I lit out mighty quick, I tell you. 

"I tuck out en shin down de hill, en 'spec to steal a 
skift 'long de sho' som'ers 'bove de town, but dey wuz 
people a-stirring yit, so I hid in de ole tumbledown 
cooper shop on de bank to wait for everybody to go 
*way. Well, I wuz dah all night. Dey wuz somebody 
roun' all de time. 'Long 'bout six in de mawnin* 

60 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

skifts begin to go by, en 'bout eight er nine every 
skift dat went 'long wuz talkin' 'bout how yo' pap 
come over to de town en say you's killed. Dese las' 
skifts wuz full o' ladies en genlmen a-goin' over for to 
see de place. Sometimes dey'd pull up at de sho' en 
take a res' b'fo' dey started acrost, so by de talk I got 
to know all 'bout de killin'. I *uz powerful sorry 
you's killed, Huck, but I ain't no mo' now. 

"I laid dah under de shavin's all day. I 'uz 
hungry, but I warn't afeard; bekase I knowed ole 
missus en de widder wuz goin' to start to de camp- 
meet 'n' right arter breakfas' en be gone all day, en 
dey knows I goes off wid de cattle 'bout daylight, so 
dey wouldn' 'spec to see me roun' de place, en so dey 
wouldn' miss me tell arter dark in de evenin'. De 
yuther servants wouldn' miss me, kase dey'd shin out 
en take hoHday soon as de ole folks 'uz out'n de way. 

"Well, when it come dark I tuck out up de river 
road, en went 'bout two mile er more to whah dey 
warn't no houses. I'd made up my mine 'bout what 
I's a-gwyne to do. You see, ef I kep' on tryin' to git 
away afoot, de dogs 'ud track me; ef I stole a skift to 
cross over, dey'd miss dat skift, you see, en dey'd 
know 'bout whah I'd Ian' on de yuther side, en whah 
to pick up my track. So I says, a raff is what I's 
arter; it doan' make no track. 

"I see a light a-comin' roun' de p'int bymeby, so I 
wade' in en shove' a log ahead o' me en swum more'n 
half-way acrost de river, en got in 'mongst de drift- 
wood, en kep' my head down low, en kinder swum 
agin de current tell de raff come along. Den I swum 
to de stern uv it en tuck a-holt. It clouded up en 'uz 

6i 



MARK TWAIN 

pooty dark for a little while. So I dumb up en laid 
down on de planks. De men 'uz all 'way yonder in 
de middle, whah de lantern wuz. De river wuz a- 
risin*, en dey wuz a good current; so I reck'n'd 'at 
by fo* in de mawnin' I'd be twenty-five mile down de 
river, en den I'd slip in jis b'fo' daylight en swim 
asho', en take to de woods on de Illinois side. 

"But I didn' have no luck. When we 'uz mos* 
down to de head er de islan' a man begin to come aft 
wid de lantern. I see it warn't no use fer to wait, so I 
slid overboard en struck out fer de islan'. Well, I had 
a notion I could Ian' mos' anywhers, but I couldn't — 
bank too bluff. I 'uz mos' to de foot er de islan' 
b'fo' I foun' a good place. I went into de woods en 
jedged I wouldn' fool wid raffs no mo', long as dey 
move de lantern roun' so. I had my pipe en a plug er 
dog-leg en some matches in my cap, en dey warn't 
wet, so I 'uz all right." 

"And so you ain't had no meat nor bread to eat 
all this time? Why didn't you get mud-turkles ?" 

"How you gwyne to git 'm ? You can't slip up on 
um en grab um; en how's a body gwyne to hit um 
wid a rock? How could a body do it in de night? 
En I warn't gwyne to show mysef on de bank in de 
daytime." 

"Well, that's so. You've had to keep in the 
woods all the time, of course. Did you hear 'em 
shooting the cannon?" 

"Oh, yes. I knowed dey was arter you. I see 
um go by heah — watched um thoo de bushes." 

Some young birds come along, flying a yard or two 
at a time and lighting. Jim said it was a sign it 

62 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

was going to rain. He said it was a sign when young 
chickens flew that way, and so he reckoned it was 
the same way when young birds done it. I was going 
to catch some of them, but Ji'm wouldn't let me. He 
said it was death. He said his father laid mighty 
sick once, and some of them catched a bird, and his 
old granny said his father would die, and he did. 

And Jim said you mustn't count the things you 
are going to cook for dinner, because that would 
bring bad luck. The same if you shook the table- 
cloth after sundown. And he said if a man owned 
a beehive and that man died, the bees must be told 
about it before sun-up next morning, or else the bees 
would all weaken down and quit work and die. Jim 
said bees wouldn't sting idiots; but I didn't believe 
that, because I had tried them lots of times myself, 
and they wouldn't sting me. 

I had heard about some of these things before, 
but not all of them. Jim knowed all kinds of signs. 
He said he knowed most everything. I said it 
looked to me like all the signs was about bad luck, 
and so I asked him if there warn't any good-luck 
signs. He says: 

''Mighty few — an' dey ain't no use to a body. 
What you want to know when good luck's a-comin' 
for ? Want to keep it off ?" And he said : " Ef you's 
got hairy arms en a hairy breas', it's a sign dat you's 
a-gwyne to be rich. Well, dey's some use in a sign 
like dat, 'kase it's so fur ahead. You see, maybe 
you's got to be po' a long time fust, en so you might 
git discourage' en kill yo'sef 'f you didn' know by 
de sign dat you gwyne to be rich bymeby." 

63 



MARK TWAIN 

' ' Have you got hairy arms and a hairy breast, Jim ?" 

"What's de use to ax dat question? Don't you 
see I has?" 

"Well, are you rich?" 

"No, but I ben rich wunst, and gwyne to be 
rich ag'in. Wunst I had foteen dollars, but I tuck 
to specalat'n', en got busted out." 

"What did you speculate in, Jim?" 

"Well, fust I tackled stock." 

"What kind of stock?" 

"Why, live stock — cattle, you know. I put ten 
dollars in a cow. But I ain' gwyne to resk no mo' 
money in stock. De cow up 'n' died on my ban's.'* 

"So you lost the ten dollars." 

"No, I didn't lose it all. I on'y los' 'bout nine of 
it. I sole de hide en taller for a dollar en ten cents." 

* ' You had five dollars and ten cents left. Did you 
speculate any more?" 

"Yes. You know that one-laigged nigger dat 
b'longs to old Misto Bradish? Well, he sot up a 
bank, en say anybody dat put in a dollar would git 
fo' dollars mo' at de en' er de year. Well, all de 
niggers went in, but dey didn't have much. I wuz 
de on'y one dat had much. So I stuck out for mo' 
dan fo' dollars, en I said 'f I didn' git it I'd start a 
bank mysef. Well, o' course dat nigger want' to 
keep me out er de business, bekase he says dey 
warn't business 'nough for two banks, so he say I 
could put in my five dollars en he pay me thirty-five 
at de en' er de year. 

"So I done it. Den I reck'n'd I'd inves' de 
thirty-five dollars right off en keep things a-movin*. 

64 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

Dey wuz a nigger name' Bob, dat had ketched a 
wood-flat, en his marster didn' know it; en I bought 
it off'n him en told him to take de thirty-five dollars 
when de en' er de year come; but somebody stole 
de wood-flat dat night, en nex' day de one-laigged 
nigger say de bank's busted. So dey didn' none uv 
us git no money." 

''What did you do with the ten cents, Jim?" 

''Well, I 'uz gwyne to spen' it, but I had a dream, 
en de dream tole me to give it to a nigger name' 
Balum — Balum's Ass dey call him for short; he's 
one er dem chuckleheads, you know. But he's lucky, 
dey say, en I see I w^arn't lucky. De dream say let 
Balum inves' de ten cents en he'd make a raise for 
me. Well, Balum he tuck de money, en when he 
wuz in church he hear de preacher say dat whoever 
give to de po' len' to de Lord, en boun' to git his 
money back a hund'd times. So Balum he tuck en 
give de ten cents to de po', en laid low to see what 
wuz gwyne to come of it." 

"Well, what did come of it, Jim?" 

"Nuffn never come of it. I couldn' manage to 
k'leck dat money no way; en Balum he couldn*. I 
ain' gwyne to len' no mo' money 'dout I see de 
security. Boun' to git yo' money back a hund'd 
times, de preacher says ! Ef I could git de ten cents 
back, I'd call it squah, en be glad er de chanst." 

"Well, it's all right anyway, Jim, long as you're 
going to be rich again some time or other." 

"Yes; en I's rich now, come to look at it. I owns 
mysef, en I's wuth eight hund'd dollars. I wisht I 
had de money, I wouldn' want no mo'." 

65 



CHAPTER IX 

I WANTED to go and look at a place right about 
the middle of the island that I'd found when I 
was exploring; so we started and soon got to it, 
because the island was only three miles long and a 
quarter of a mile wide. 

This place was a tolerable long, steep hill or ridge 
about forty foot high. We had a rough time getting 
to the top, the sides was so steep and the bushes so 
thick. We tramped and dumb around all over it, 
and by and by found a good big cavern in the rock, 
most up to the top on the side towards Illinois. The 
cavern was as big as two or three rooms bunched 
together, and Jim could stand up straight in it. It 
was cool in there. Jim was for putting our traps 
in there right away, but I said we didn't want to 
be climbing up and down there all the time. 

Jim said if we had the canoe hid in a good place, 
and had all the traps in the cavern, we could rush 
there if anybody was to come to the island, and they 
would never find us without dogs. And, besides, he 
said them little birds had said it was going to rain, 
and did I want the things to get wet? 

So we went back and got the canoe, and paddled 
up abreast the cavern, and lugged all the traps up 
there. Then we him ted up a place close by to hide 

66 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

the canoe in, amongst the thick willows. We took 
some fish off of the lines and set them again, and 
begun to get ready for dinner. 

The door of the cavern was big enough to roll a 
hogshead in, and on one side of the door the floor 
stuck out a little bit, and was flat and a good place 
to build a fire on. So we built it there and cooked 
dinner. 

We spread the blankets inside for a carpet, and eat 
our dinner in there. We put all the other things 
handy at the back of the cavern. Pretty soon it 
darkened up, and begun to thunder and lighten; so 
the birds was right about it. Directly it begun to 
rain, and it rained like all fury, too, and I never see 
the wind blow so. It was one of these regular sum- 
mer storms. It would get so dark that it looked all 
blue-black outside, and lovely; and the rain would 
thrash along by so thick that the trees off a little 
ways looked dim and spider- webby ; and here would 
come a blast of wind that would bend the trees 
down and turn up the pale underside of the leaves; 
and then a perfect ripper of a gust would follow 
along and set the branches to tossing their arms as 
if they was just wild; and next, when it was just 
about the bluest and blackest — }st! it was as bright 
as glory, and you'd have a little glimpse of tree- 
tops a-plunging about away off yonder in the storm, 
hundreds of yards further than you could see before ; 
dark as sin again in a second, and now you'd hear 
the thunder let go with an awful crash, and then go 
rumbhng, grumbling, tumbling, down the sky to- 
wards the under side of the world, like rolling empty 

67 



MARK TWAIN 

barrels down-stairs— where it's long stairs and they 
bounce a good deal, you know. 

"Jim, this is nice," I says. "I wouldn't want to 
be nowhere else but here. Pass me along another 
hunk of fish and some hot corn-bread." 

"Well, you wouldn't 'a' ben here 'f it hadn't 'a' ben 
for Jim. You'd 'a' ben down dah in de woods widout 
any dinner, en gittin' mos' drownded, too; dat you 
would, honey. Chickens knows when it's gwyne to 
rain, en so do de birds, chile." 

The river went on raising and raising for ten or 
twelve days, till at last it was over the banks. The 
water was three or four foot deep on the island in 
the low places and on the Illinois bottom. On that 
side it was a good many miles wide, but on the Mis- 
souri side it was the same old distance across — a half 
a mile — because the Missouri shore was just a wall 
of high bluffs. 

Daytimes we paddled all over the island in the 
canoe. It was mighty cool and shady in the deep 
woods, even if the sun was blazing outside. We went 
winding in and out amongst the trees, and sometimes 
the vines hung so thick we had to back away and 
go some other way. Well, on every old broken- 
down tree you could s-ee rabbits and snakes and such 
things; and when the island had been overflowed a 
day or two they got so tame, on account of being 
hungry, that you could paddle right up and put your 
hand on them if you wanted to; but not the snakes 
and turtles — they would slide off in the water. The 
ridge our cavern was in was full of them. We could 
'a' had pets enough if we'd wanted them. 

68 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

One night we catched a little section of a lumber- 
raft — nice pine planks. It was twelve foot wide and 
about fifteen or sixteen foot long, and the top stood 
above water six or seven inches — a solid, level floor. 
We could see saw-logs go by in the daylight some- 
times, but we let them go; we didn't show ourselves 
in daylight. 

Another night when we was up at the head of the 
island, just before daylight, here comes a frame- 
house down, on the west side. She was a two-story, 
and tilted over considerable. We paddled out and 
got aboard — dumb in at an up-stairs window. But 
it was too dark to see yet, so we made the canoe 
fast and set in her to wait for daylight. 

The light begun to come before we got to the foot 
of the island. Then we looked in at the window. 
We could make out a bed, and a table, and two old 
chairs, and lots of things around about on the floor, 
and there was clothes hanging against the wall. 
There was something laying on the floor in the far 
corner that looked like a man. So Jim says: 

''Hello, you!" 

But it didn't budge. So I hollered again, and then 
Jim says: 

"De man ain't asleep — he's dead. You hold still 
— I'll go en see." 

He went, and bent down and looked, and says: 

''It's a dead man. Yes, indeedy; naked, too. 
He's ben shot in de back. I reck'n he's ben dead 
two er three days. Come in, Huck, but doan' look 
at his face — it's too gashl}^" 

I didn't look at him at all. Jim throwed some old 
69 



MARK TWAIN 

rags over him, but he needn't done it; I didn't want 
to see him. There was heaps of old greasy cards 
scattered around over the floor, and old whisky- 
bottles, and a couple of masks made out of black 
cloth ; and all over the walls was the ignorantest kind 
of words and pictures made with charcoal. There 
was two old dirty calico dresses, and a sun-bonnet, 
and some women's underclothes hanging against the 
wall, and some men's clothing, too. We put the lot 
into the canoe — it might come good. There was a 
boy's old speckled straw hat on the floor; I took that, 
too. And there was a bottle that had had milk in 
it, and it had a rag stopper for a baby to suck. We 
would 'a' took the bottle, but it was broke. There 
was a seedy old chest, and an old hair trunk with the 
hinges broke. They stood open, but there warn't 
nothing left in them that was any account. The way 
things was scattered about we reckoned the people 
left in a hurry, and warn't fixed so as to carry off 
most of their stuff. 

We got an old tin lantern, and a butcher-knife 
without any handle, and a bran-new Barlow knife 
worth two bits in any store, and a lot of tallow 
candles, and a tin candlestick, and a gourd, and a 
tin cup, and a ratty old bedquilt off the bed, and a 
reticule with needles and pins and beeswax and but- 
tons and thread and all such truck in it, and a 
hatchet and some nails, and a fish-line as thick as 
my little finger with some monstrous hooks on it, 
and a roll of buckskin, and a leather dog-collar, and 
a horseshoe, and some vials of medicine that didn't 
have no label on them; and just as we was leaving 

70 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

I found a tolerable good currycomb, and Jim he 
found a ratty old fiddle-bow, and a wooden leg. 
The straps was broke off of it, but, barring that, it 
was a good enough leg, though it was too long for 
me and not long enough for Jim, and we couldn't 
find the other one, though we hunted all around. 

And so, take it all around, we made a good haul. 
When we was ready to shove off we was a quarter 
of a mile below the island, and it was pretty broad 
day; so I made Jim lay down in the canoe and cover 
up with the quilt, because if he set up people could 
tell he was a nigger a good ways off. I paddled over 
to the Illinois shore, and drifted down most a half 
a mile doing it. I crept up the dead water under 
the bank, and hadn't no accidents and didn't see 
nobody. We got home all safe. 

6 



CHAPTER X 

AFTER breakfast I wanted to talk about the dead 
L man and guess out how he come to be killed, 
but Jim didn't want to. He said it would fetch bad 
luck; and besides, he said, he might come and ha'nt 
us; he said a man that warn't buried was more likely 
to go a-ha'nting around than one that was planted 
and comfortable. That sounded pretty reasonable, 
so I didn't say no more; but I couldn't keep from 
studying over it and wishing I knowed who shot the 
man, and what they done it for. 

We rummaged the clothes we'd got, and found 
eight dollars in silver sewed up in the lining of an 
old blanket overcoat. Jim said he reckoned the 
people in that house stole the coat, because if the3^'d 
'a' knowed the money was there they wouldn't 'a' left 
it. I said I reckoned they killed him, too; but Jim 
didn't want to talk about that. I says : 

"Now you think it's bad luck; but what did you 
say when I fetched in the snake-skin that I found 
on the top of the ridge day before yesterday? You 
said it was the worst bad luck in the world to touch 
a snake-skin with my hands. Well, here's your bad 
luck! We've raked in all this truck and eight dol- 
lars besides. I wish we could have some bad luck 
like this every day, Jim." 

72 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

** Never you mind, honey, never you mind. Don't 
you git too peart. It's a-comin'. Mind I tell you, 
it's a-comin'." 

It did come, too. It was a Tuesday that we had 
that talk. Well, after dinner Friday we was laying 
around in the grass at the upper end of the ridge, and 
got out of tobacco. I went to the cavern to get 
some, and found a rattlesnake in there. I killed 
him, and curled him up on the foot of Jim's blanket, 
ever so natural, thinking there 'd be some fun when 
Jim found him there. Well, by night I forgot all 
about the snake, and when Jim flung himself down 
on the blanket while I struck a light the snake's 
mate was there, and bit him. 

He jumped up yelling, and the first thing the light 
showed was the varmint curled up and ready for 
another spring. I laid him out in a second with a 
stick, and Jim grabbed pap's whisky- jug and begun 
to pour it down. 

He was barefooted, and the snake bit him right 
on the heel. That all comes of my being such a 
fool as to not remember that wherever you leave a 
dead snake its mate always comes there and curls 
around it. Jim told me to chop off the snake's 
head and throw it away, and then skin the body and 
roast a piece of it. I done it, and he eat it and said 
it would help cure him. He made me take off the 
rattles and tie them around his wrist, too. He said 
that that would help. Then I slid out quiet and 
thro wed the snakes clear away amongst the bushes; 
for I warn't going to let Jim find out it was all my 
fault, not if I could help it. 

73 



MARK TWAIN 

Jim sucked and sucked at the jug, and now and 
then he got out of his head and pitched around and 
yelled; but every time he come to himself he went 
to sucking at the jug again. His foot swelled up 
pretty big, and so did his leg; but by and by the 
drunk begun to come, and so I judged he was all 
right; but I'd druther been bit with a snake than 
pap's whisky. 

Jim was laid up for four days and nights. Then 
the swelling was all gone and he was around again. 
I made up my mind I wouldn't ever take a-holt of 
a snake-skin again with my hands, now that I see 
what had come of it. Jim said he reckoned I would 
believe him next time. And he said that handling a 
snake-skin was such awful bad luck that maybe we 
hadn't got to the end of it yet. He said he druther 
see the new moon over his left shoulder as much as 
a thousand times than take up a snake-skin in his 
hand. Well, I was getting to feel that way myself, 
though I've always reckoned that looking at the new 
moon over your left shoulder is one of the carelessest 
and foolishest things a body can do. Old Hank 
Bunker done it once, and bragged about it; and in 
less than two years he got drunk and fell off of the 
shot-tower, and spread himself out so that he was 
just a kind of a layer, as you may say; and they slid 
him edgeways between two barn doors for a coffin, 
and buried him so, so they say, but I didn't see it. 
Pap told me. But anyway it all come of looking at 
the moon that way, like a fool. 

Well, the days went along, and the river went 
down between its banks again; and about the first 

74 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

thing we done was to bait one of the big hooks with 
a skinned rabbit and set it and catch a catfish that 
was as big as a man, being six foot two inches long, 
and weighed over two hundred pounds. We couldn't 
handle him, of course; he would 'a' flung us into 
Illinois. We just set there and watched him rip and 
tear around till he drownded. We found a brass 
button in his stomach and a round ball, and lots of 
rubbage. We split the ball open with the hatchet, 
and there was a spool in it. Jim said he'd had it 
there a long time, to coat it over so and make a 
ball of it. It was as big a fish as was ever catched 
in the Mississippi, I reckon. Jim said he hadn't ever 
seen a bigger one. He would 'a' been worth a good 
deal over at the village. They peddle out such a 
fish as that by the pound in the market-house there ; 
everybody buys some of him; his meat's as white as 
snow and makes a good fry. 

Next morning I said it was getting slow and dull, 
and I wanted to get a stirring-up some way. I said 
I reckoned I would slip over the river and find out 
what was going on. Jim liked that notion; but he 
said I must go in the dark and look sharp. Then he 
studied it over and said, couldn't I put on some of 
them old things and dress up like a girl? That was 
a good notion, too. So we shortened up one of the 
calico gowns, and I turned up my trouser-legs to my 
knees and got into it. Jim hitched it behind with 
the hooks, and it was a fair fit. I put on the sun- 
bonnet and tied it under my chin, and then for a 
body to look in and see my face was like looking 
down a joint of stove-pipe. Jim said nobody would 

75 



MARK TWAIN 

know me, even in the daytime, hardly. I practised 
around all day to get the hang of the things, and 
by and by I could do pretty well in them, only Jim 
said I didn't walk like a girl; and he said I must 
quit pulhng up my gown to get at my britches- 
pocket. I took notice, and done better. 

I started up the Illinois shore in the canoe just 
after dark. 

I started across to the town from a little below 
the ferry-landing, and the drift of the current fetched 
me in at the bottom of the town. I tied up and 
started along the bank. There was a light burning 
in a little shanty that hadn't been lived in for a long 
time, and I wondered who had took up quarters 
there. I slipped up and peeped in at the window. 
There was a woman about forty year old in there 
knitting by a candle that was on a pine table. I 
didn't know her face; she was a stranger, for you 
cotildn't start a face in that town that I didn't know. 
Now this was lucky, because I was weakening; I 
was getting afraid I had come; people might know 
my voice and find me out. But if this woman had 
been in such a little town two days she could tell 
me aU I wanted to know; so I knocked at the door,, 
and made up my mind I wouldn't forget I was a girl. 



CHAPTER XI 

COME in," says the woman, and I did. She 
says: "Take a cheer." 

I done it. She looked me all over with her little 
shiny eyes, and says: 

"What might your name be?" 

"Sarah Williams." 

"Where 'bouts do you live? In this neighbor- 
hood?" 

"No'm. In Hooker ville, seven mile below. I've 
walked all the way and I'm all tired out." 

' ' Hungry, too, I reckon. I'll find you something. " 

"No'm, I ain't hungry. I was so hungry I had 
to stop two miles below here at a farm; so I ain't 
hungry no more. It's what makes me so late. My 
mother's down sick, and out of money and every- 
thing, and I come to tell my uncle Abner Moore. 
He lives at the upper end of the town, she says. I 
hain't ever been here before. Do you know him?" 

"No; but I don't know everybody yet. I haven't 
lived here quite two weeks. It's a considerable ways 
to the upper end of the town. You better stay here 
all night. Take off your bonnet." 

"No," I says; "I'll rest awhile, I reckon, and go 
on. I ain't afeard of the dark." 

She said she wouldn't let me go by myself, but 
77 



MARK TWAIN 

her husband would be in by and by, maybe in a 
hour and a half, and she'd send him along with me. 
Then she got to talking about her husband, and about 
her relations up the river, and her relations down 
the river, and about how much better off they used 
to was, and how they didn't know but they'd made 
a mistake coming to our town, instead of letting well 
alone — and so on and so on, till I was afeard I had 
made a mistake coming to her to find out what was 
going on in the town ; but by and by she dropped on 
to pap and the murder, and then I was pretty willing 
to let her clatter right along. She told about me and 
Tom Sawder finding the twelve thousand dollars (only 
she got it twenty) and all about pap and what a hard 
lot he was, and what a hard lot I was, and at last 
she got down to where I was murdered. I says: 

'"Who done it? We've heard considerable about 
these goings-on down in Hookerville, but we don't 
know who 'twas that killed Huck Finn." 

"Well, I reckon there's a right smart chance of 
people here that 'd like to know who killed him. 
Some think old Finn done it himself." 

"No— is that so?" 

"Most everybody thought it at first. He'll never 
know how nigh he come to getting lynched. But 
before night they changed around and judged it was 
done by a runaway nigger named Jim." 

"Why/te— " 

I stopped. I reckoned I better keep still. She 
run on, and never noticed I had put in at all : 

The nigger run off the very night Huck Finn was 
killed. So there's a reward out for him — three hun- 

78 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

dred dollars. And there's a reward out for old Finn, 
too — two hundred dollars. You see, he come to town 
the morning after the murder, and told about it, and 
was out with 'em on the ferryboat hunt, and right 
away after he up and left. Before night they wanted 
to lynch him, but he was gone, you see. Well, next 
day they found out the nigger was gone ; they found 
out he hadn't ben seen sence ten o'clock the night 
the murder was done. So then they put it on him, 
you see; and while they was full of it, next day, back 
comes old Finn, and went boo-hooing to Judge 
Thatcher to get money to hunt for the nigger all over 
Illinois with. The judge gave him some, and that 
evening he got drunk, and was around till after mid- 
night with a couple of mighty hard-looking strangers, 
and then went off with them. Well, he hain't come 
back sence, and they ain't looking for him back till 
this thing blows over a little, for people thinks now 
that he killed his boy and fixed things so folks would 
think robbers done it, and then he'd get Huck's 
money without having to bother a long time with a 
lawsuit. People do say he warn't any too good to do 
it. Oh, he's sly, I reckon. If he don't come back for a 
year he'll be all right. You can't prove anything on 
him, you know ; everything will be quieted down then, 
and he'll walk in Huck's money as easy as nothing." 

"Yes, I reckon so, 'm. I don't see nothing in the 
way of it. Has everybody quit thinking the nigger 
done it?" 

"Oh, no, not everybody. A good many thinks he 
done it. But they'll get the nigger pretty soon now, 
and maybe they can scare it out of him." 

79 



MARK TWAIN 

"Why, are they after him yet?" 

"Well, you're innocent, ain't you! Does three 
hundred dollars lay around every day for people to 
pick up? Some folks think the nigger ain't far from 
here. I'm one of them — but I hain't talked it around. 
A few days ago I was talking w4th an old couple that 
lives next door in the log shanty, and they happened 
to say hardly anybody ever goes to that island over 
yonder that they call Jackson's Island. Don't any- 
body live there? says I. No, nobody, says they. I 
didn't say any more, but I done some thinking. I 
was pretty near certain I'd seen smoke over there, 
about the head of the island, a day or two before that, 
so I says to myself, like as not that nigger's hiding 
over there; anyway, says I, it's worth the trouble to 
give the place a hunt. I hain't seen any smoke sence, 
so I reckon maybe he's gone, if it was him; but 
husband's going over to see- — him and another man. 
He was gone up the river; but he got back to-day, 
and I told him as soon as he got here two hours ago." 

I had got so uneasy I couldn't set still. I had to do 
something with my hands; so I took up a needle off 
of the table and went to threading it. My hands 
shook, and I was making a bad job of it. When the 
woman stopped talking I looked up, and she was 
looking at me pretty curious and smiling a little. I 
put down the needle and thread, and let on to be 
interested — and I was, too — and says: 

"Three hundred dollars is a power of money. I 
wish my mother could get it. Is your husband going 
over there to-night?" 

"Oh, yes. He went up-town with the man I was 
80 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

telling you of, to get a boat and see if they could 
borrow another gun. They'll go over after mid- 
night." 

"Couldn't they see better if they was to wait till 
daytime?" 

"Yes. And couldn't the nigger see better, too? 
After midnight he'll likely be asleep, and they can 
slip around through the woods and hunt up his camp- 
fire all the better for the dark, if he's got one." 

"I didn't think of that." 

The woman kept looking at me pretty curious, and 
I didn't feel a bit comfortable. Pretty soon she says: 

"What did you say your name was, honey?" 

"M— Mary Williams." 

Somehow it didn't seem to me that I said it was 
Mary before, so I didn't look up — seemed to me I 
said it was Sarah; so I felt sort of cornered, and was 
afeard maybe I was looking it, too. I wished the 
woman would say something more; the longer she 
set still the uneasier I was. But now she says : 

"Honey, I thought you said it was Sarah when 
you first come in?" 

"Oh, yes'm, I did. Sarah Mary Williams. Sarah's 
my first name. Some calls me Sarah, some calls me 
Mary." 

"Oh, that's the way of it?" 

"Yes'm." 

I was feeling better then, but I wished I was out of 
there, anyway. I couldn't look up yet. 

Well, the woman fell to talking about how hard 
times was, and how poor they had to live, and how 
the rats was as free as if they owned the place, and 

8i 



MARK TWAIN 

so forth and so on, and then I got easy again. She 
was right about the rats. You'd see one stick his 
nose out of a hole in the corner every. Httle while. 
She said she had to have things handy to throw at 
them when she was alone, or they wouldn't give her 
no peace. She showed me a bar of lead twisted up 
into a knot, and said she was a good shot with it 
generly, but she'd wrenched her arm a day or two 
ago, and didn't know whether she could throw true 
now. But she watched for a chance, and directty 
banged away at a rat ; but she missed him wide, and 
said, "Ouch!" it hurt her arm so. Then she told 
me to try for the next one. I wanted to be getting 
away before the old man got back, but of course I 
didn't let on. I got the thing, and the first rat that 
showed his nose I let drive, and if he'd 'a' stayed where 
he was he'd 'a' been a tolerable sick rat. She said that 
was first-rate, and she reckoned I would hive the 
next one. She went and got the lump of lead and 
fetched it back, and brought along a hank of yarn 
which she wanted me to help her with. I held up 
my two hands and she put the hank over them, and 
went on talking about her and her husband's matters. 
But she broke off to say: 

"Keep your eye on the rats. You better have the 
lead in your lap, handy." 

So she dropped the lump into my lap just at that 
moment, and I clapped my legs together on it and 
she went on talking. But only about a minute. Then 
she took off the hank and looked me straight in the 
face, and very pleasant, and says: 

"Come, now, what's your real name?'* 
82 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

"Wh-hat, mum?" 

"What's your real name? Is it Bill, or Tom, or 
Bob?— or what is it?" 

I reckon I shook like a leaf, and I didn't know 
hardly what to do. But I says: 

"Please to don't poke fun at a poor girl like me, 
mum. If I'm in the way here, I'll — " 

"No, you won't. Set down and stay where you 
are. I ain't going to hurt you, and I ain't going to 
tell on you, nuther. You just tell me your secret, 
and trust me. I'll keep it; and, what's more, I'll 
help you. So'll my old man if you want him to. 
You see, you're a runaway 'prentice, that's all. It 
ain't anything. There ain't no harm in it. You've 
been treated bad, and you made up your mind to cut. 
Bless you, child, I wouldn't tell on you. Tell me all 
about it now, that's a good boy." 

So I said it wouldn't be no use to try to play it any 
longer, and I would just make a clean breast and 
tell her everything, but she mustn't go back on her 
promise. Then I told her my father and mother was 
dead, and the law had bound me out to a mean old 
farmer in the country thirty mile back from the 
river, and he treated me so bad I couldn't stand it 
no longer ; he went away to be gone a couple of days, 
and so I took my chance and stole some of his 
daughter's old clothes and cleared out, and I had 
been three nights coming the thirty miles. I traveled 
nights, and hid daytimes and slept, and the bag of 
bread and meat I carried from home lasted me all 
the way, and I had a-plenty. I said I believed my 
uncle Abner Moore would take care of me, and so 

33 



MARK TWAIN 

that was why I struck out for this town of 
Goshen. 

"Goshen, child? This ain't Goshen. This is St. 
Petersburg. Goshen's ten mile further up the river. 
Who told you this was Goshen?" 

**Why, a man I met at daybreak this morning, just 
as I was going to turn into the woods for my regular 
sleep. He told me when the roads forked I must 
take the right hand, and five mile would fetch me 
to Goshen." 

"He was drunk, I reckon. He told you just ex- 
actly wrong." 

"Well, he did act like he was drunk, but it ain't 
no matter now. I got to be moving along. I'll 
fetch Goshen before daylight." 

* ' Hold on a minute. I'll put you up a snack to eat. 
You might want it." 

So she put me up a snack, and says: 

"Say, when a cow's laying down, which end 
of her gets up first? Answer up prompt now — 
don't stop to study over it. Which end gets up 
first?" 

"The hind end, mum." 

"Well, then, a horse?" 

"The for'rard end, mum." 

"Which side of a tree does the moss grow on?" 

"North side." 

"If fifteen cows is browsing on a hillside, how 
many of them eats with their heads pointed the same 
direction?" 

"The whole fifteen, mum." 

"Well, I reckon you have lived in the country. I 
H 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

thought maybe you was trying to hocus me again. 
What's your real name, now?" 

''George Peters, mum." 

"Well, try to remember it, George. Don't forget 
and tell me it's Elexander before you go, and then 
get out by saying it's George Elexander when I 
catch you. And don't go about women in that old 
calico. You do a girl tolerable poor, but you might 
fool men, maybe. Bless you, child, when you set out 
to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch 
the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke 
the thread at it; that's the way a woman most 
always does, but a man always does t'other way. 
And when you throw at a rat or anything, hitch 
yourself up a-tiptoe and fetch your hand up over 
your head as awkward as you can, and miss your 
rat about six or seven foot. Throw stiff -armed from 
the shoulder, like there was a pivot there for it to 
turn on, like a girl; not from the wrist and elbow, 
with your arm out to one side, like a boy. And, mind 
you, when a girl tries to catch anything in her lap 
she throws her knees apart; she don't clap them 
together, the way you did when you catched the 
lump of lead. Why, I spotted you for a boy when 
you was threading the needle; and I contrived the 
other things just to make certain. Now trot along to 
your uncle, Sarah Mary Williams George Elexander 
Peters, and if you get into trouble you send word to 
Mrs. Judith Loftus, which is me, and I'll do what I 
can to get you out of it. Keep the river road all the 
way, and next time you tramp take shoes and socks 
with you. The river road's a rocky one, and your 

85 



MARK TWAIN 

feet '11 be in a condition when you get to Goshen, I 
reckon." 

I went up the bank about fifty yards, and then I 
doubled on my tracks and slipped back to where my 
canoe was, a good piece below the house. I jumped 
in, and was off in a hurry. I went up-stream far 
enough to make the head of the island, and then 
started across. I took off the sun-bonnet, for I didn't 
want no blinders on then. When I was about the 
middle I heard the clock begin to strike, so I stops 
and listens ; the sound come faint over the water but 
clear — ^eleven. When I struck the head of the island 
I never waited to blow, though I was most winded, 
but I shoved right into the timber where my old 
camp used to be, and started a good fire there on a 
high and dry spot. 

Then I jumped in the canoe and dug out for our 
place, a mile and a half below, as hard as I could go. 
I landed, and slopped through the timber and up the 
ridge and into the cavern. There Jim laid, sound 
asleep on the ground. I roused him out and says: 

"Git up and hump yourself, Jim! There ain't a 
minute to lose. They're after us!" 

Jim never asked no questions, he never said a word; 
but the way he worked for the next half an hour 
showed about how he was scared. By that time 
everything we had in the world was on our raft, and 
she was ready to be shoved out from the willow cove 
where she was hid. We put out the camp-fire at the 
cavern the first thing, and didn't show a candle out- 
side after that. 

I took the canoe out from the shore a little piece, 
86 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

and took a look; but if there was a boat around I 
c(ptdn't see it, for stars and shadows ain't good to 
see by. Then we got out the raft and sHpped along 
down in the shade, past the foot of the island dead 
still — never saying a word. 



CHAPTER XII 

IT must 'a' been close on to one o'clock when we 
got below the island at last, and the raft did seem 
to go mighty* slow. If a boat was to come along 
we was going to take to the canoe and break for the 
Illinois shore; and it was well a boat didn't come, for 
we hadn't ever thought to put the gun in the canoe, 
or a fishing-line, or anything to eat. We was in 
ruther too much of a sweat to think of so many- 
things. It warn't good judgment to put everything 
on the raft. 

If the men went to the island I just expect they 
found the camp-fire I built, and watched it all night 
for Jim to come. Anyways, they stayed away from 
us, and if my building the fire never fooled them it 
warn't no fault of mine. I played it as low down on 
them as I could. 

When the first streak of day began to show we tied 
up to a towhead in a big bend on the Illinois side, and 
hacked off cot ton wood branches with the hatchet, 
and covered up the raft with them so she looked like 
there had been a cave-in in the bank there. A tow- 
head is a sand-bar that has cottonwoods on it as thick 
as harrow-teeth. 

We had mountains on the Missouri shore and 
heavy timber on the Illinois side, and the channel 

88 



. HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

was down the Missouri shore at that place, so wc 
warn't afraid of anybody running across us. We 
laid there all day, and watched the rafts and steam- 
boats spin down the Missouri shore, and up-bound 
steamboats fight the big river in the middle. I told 
Jim all about the time I had jabbering with that 
woman; and Jim said she was a smart one, and if 
she was to start after us herself she wouldn't set 
down and watch a camp-fire — no, sir, she'd fetch 
a dog. Well, then, I said, why couldn't she tell 
her husband to fetch a dog? Jim said he bet she 
did think of it by the time the men was ready to 
start, and he believed they must 'a' gone up-town to 
get a dog and so they lost all that time, or else we 
wouldn't be here on a towhead sixteen or seventeen 
mile below the village — no, indeedy, we would be in 
that same old town again. So I said I didn't care 
what was the reason they didn't get us as long as they 
didn't. 

When it was beginning to come on dark we poked 
our heads out of the cot ton wood thicket, and looked 
up and down and across; nothing in sight; so Jim 
took up some of the top planks of the raft and built a 
snug wigwam to get under in blazing weather and 
rainy, and to keep the things dry. Jim made a floor 
for the wigwam, and raised it a foot or more above 
the level of the raft, so now the blankets and all the 
traps was out of reach of steamboat waves. Right 
in the middle of the wigwam we made a layer of dirt 
about five or six inches deep with a frame around it 
for to hold it to its place ; this was to build a fire on in 
sloppy weather or chilly ; the wigwam would keep it 

89 



MARK TWAIN 

from being seen. We made an extra steering-oar, 
too, because one of the others might get broke on a 
snag or something. We fixed up a short forked stick 
to hang the old lantern on, because we must always 
light the lantern whenever we see a steamboat coming 
down-stream, to keep from getting run over; but we 
wouldn't have to light it for up-stream boats unless 
we see we was in what they call a ' ' crossing " ; for the 
river was pretty high yet, very low banks being still a 
little under water; so up-bound boats didn't always 
run the channel, but hunted easy water. 

This second night we run between seven and eight 
hours, with a current that was making over four mile 
an hour. We catched fish and talked, and we took a 
swim now and then to keep off sleepiness. It was 
kind of solemn, drifting down the big, still river, lay- 
ing on our backs looking up at the stars, and we 
didn't ever feel like talking loud, and it warn't often 
that we laughed — only a little kind of a low chuckle. 
We had mighty good weather as a general thing, and 
nothing ever happened to us at all — that night, nor 
the next, nor the next. 

Every night we passed towns, some of them away 
up on black hillsides, nothing but just a shiny bed of 
lights ; not a house could you see. The fifth night we 
passed St. Louis, and it was like the whole world lit 
up. In St. Petersburg they used to say there was 
twenty or thirty thousand people in St. Louis, but I 
never believed it till I see that wonderful spread of 
lights at two o'clock that still night. There warn't a 
sound there; everybody was asleep. 

Every night now I used to slip ashore toward ten 
90 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

o'clock at some little village, and buy ten or fifteen 
cents' worth of meal or bacon or other stuff to eat ; 
and sometimes I lifted a chicken that warn't roosting 
comfortable, and took him along. Pap always said, 
take a chicken when you get a chance, because if you 
don't want him yourself you can easy find somebody 
that does, and a good deed ain't ever forgot. I never 
see pap when he didn't want the chicken himself, but 
that is what he used to say, anyway. 

Mornings before daylight I slipped into corn-fields 
and borrowed a watermelon, or a mushmelon, or a 
punkin, or some new corn, or things of that kind. 
Pap always said it warn't no harm to borrow things if 
you was meaning to pay them back some time; but 
the widow said it warn't anything but a soft name for 
stealing, and no decent body would do it. Jim said 
he reckoned the widow was partly right and pap was 
partly right ; so the best way would be for us to pick 
out two or three things from the list and say we 
wouldn't borrow them any more — then he reckoned 
it wouldn't be no harm to borrow the others. So we 
talked it over all one night, drifting along down the 
river, trying to make up our minds whether to drop 
the watermelons, or the cant elopes, or the mush- 
melons, or what. But toward daylight we got it all 
settled satisfactory, and concluded to drop crab- 
apples and p'simmons. We warn't feeling just right 
before that, but it was all comfortable now. I was 
glad the way it come out, too, because crabapples 
ain't ever good, and the p'simmons wouldn't be ripe 
for two or three months yet. 

We shot a water-fowl now and then that got up 
91 



MARK TWAIN 

too early in the morning or didn't go to bed early 
enough in the evening. Take it all round, we lived 
pretty high. 

The fifth night below St. Louis we had a big storm 
after midnight, with a power of thunder and light- 
ning, and the rain poured down in a solid sheet. 
We stayed in the wigwam and let the raft take care 
of itself. When the lightning glared out we could 
see a big straight river ahead, and high, rocky bluffs 
on both sides. By and by says I, "Hel-/c, Jim, 
looky yonder!" It was a steamboat that had killed 
herself on a rock. We was drifting straight down 
for her. The lightning showed her very distinct. 
She was leaning over, with part of her upper deck 
above water, and you could see every little chimbly- 
guy clean and clear, and a chair by the big bell, with 
an old slouch hat hanging on the back of it, when 
the flashes come. 

Well, it being away in the night and stormy, and 
all so mysterious-Hke, I felt just the way any other 
boy would 'a' felt when I seen that wreck laying there 
so mournful and lonesome in the middle of the river. 
I wanted to get aboard of her and slink around a 
little, and see what there was there. So I says : 

"Le's land on her, Jim." 

But Jim was dead against it at first. He says: 

"I doan' want to go fool'n' 'long er no wrack. 
We's doin' blame' well, en we better let blame' well 
alone, as de good book says. Like as not dey's a 
watchman on dat wrack." 

"Watchman your grandmother," I says; ** there 
ain't nothing to watch but the texas and the pilot- 

92 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

house; and do you reckon anybody's going to resk his 
Hfe for a texas and a pilot-house such a night as this, 
when it's Hkely to break up and wash off down the 
river any minute?" Jim couldn't say nothing to 
that, so he didn't try. "And besides," I says, "we 
might borrow something worth having out of the 
captain's stateroom. Seegars, I bet you — and cost 
five cents apiece, solid cash. Steamboat captains is 
always rich, and get sixty dollars a month, and they 
don't care a cent what a thing costs, you know, long 
as they want it. Stick a candle in your pocket; I 
can't rest, Jim, till we give her a rummaging. Do 
you reckon Tom Sawyer would ever go by this 
thing? Not for pie, he wouldn't. He'd call it an 
adventure^that's what he'd call it; and he'd land 
on that wreck if it was his last act. And wouldn't 
he throw style into it? — wouldn't he spread himself, 
nor nothing? Why, you'd think it was Christopher 
C'lumbus discovering Kingdom Come. I wish Tom 
Sawyer was here." 

Jim he grumbled a little, but give in. He said we 
mustn't talk any more than we could help, and then 
talk mighty low. The lightning showed us the wreck 
again just in time, and we fetched the stabboard 
derrick, and made fast there. 

The deck was high out here. We went sneaking 
down the slope of it to labboard, in the dark, towards 
the texas, feeling our way slow with our feet, and 
spreading our hands out to fend off the guys, for it 
was so dark we couldn't see no sign of them. Pretty 
soon we struck the forward end of the skylight, and 
dumb on to it ; and the next step fetched us in front 

93 

I 



MARK TWAIN 

of the captain's door, which was open, and by Jim- 
miny, away down through the texas-hall we see a 
light! and all in the same second we seem to hear 
low voices in yonder! 

Jim whispered and said he was feeling powerful 
sick, and told me to come along. I says, all right, 
and was going to start for the raft; but just then I 
heard a voice wail out and say : 

' ' Oh, please don't, boys ; I swear I won't ever tell !" 

Another voice said, pretty loud: 

"It's a lie, Jim Turner. You've acted this way 
before. You always want more'n your share of the 
truck, and you've always got it, too, because you've 
swore 't if you didn't you'd tell. But this time 
you've said it jest one time too many. You're the 
meanest, treacherousest hound in this country." 

By this time Jim was gone for the raft. I was 
just a-biling with curiosity; and I says to myself, 
Tom Sawyer wouldn't back out now, and so I won't 
either; I'm a-going to see what's going on here. So 
I dropped on my hands and knees in the little 
passage, and crept aft in the dark till there warn't 
but one stateroom betwixt me and the cross-hall of 
the texas. Then in there I see a man stretched on 
the floor and tied hand and foot, and two men stand- 
ing over him, and one of them had a dim lantern in 
his hand, and the other one had a pistol. This one 
kept pointing the pistol at the man's head on the 
floor, and saying: 

"I'd like to! And I orter, too — a mean skunk!" 

The man on the floor would shrivel up and say, 
"Oh, please don't, Bill; I hain't ever goin' to tell." 

94 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

And every time he said that the man with the 
lantern would laugh and say : 

'"Deed you ain't! You never said no truer thing 
'n that, you bet you." And once he said: "Hear 
him beg! and yit if we hadn't got the best of him 
and tied him he'd 'a' killed us both. And what for? 
Jist for noth'n'. Jist because we stood on our rights 
— that's what for. But I lay you ain't a-goin' to 
threaten nobody any more, Jim Turner. Put up 
that pistol, Bill." 

Bill says: 

*'I don't want to, Jake Packard. I'm for killin' 
him — and didn't he kill old Hatfield jist the same 
way — and don't he deserve it?" 

"But I don't want him killed, and I've got my 
reasons for it." 

"Bless yo' heart for them words, Jake Packard! 
I'll never forgit you long's I live!" says the man on 
the floor, sort of blubbering. 

Packard didn't take no notice of that, but hung 
up his lantern on a nail and started toward where 
I was, there in the dark, and motioned Bill to come. 
I crawfished as fast as I could about two yards, but 
the boat slanted so that I couldn't make very good 
time; so to keep from getting run over and catched 
I crawled into a stateroom on the upper side. The 
man came a-pawing along in the dark, and when 
Packard got to my stateroom, he says: 

"Here — come in here." 

And in he come, and Bill after him. But before 
they got in I was up in the upper berth, cornered, 
and sorry I come. Then they stood there, with 

95 



MARK TWAIN 

their hands on the ledge of the berth, and talked. 
I couldn't see them, but I could tell where they was 
by the whisky they'd been having. I was glad I 
didn't drink whisky; but it wouldn't made much 
difference anyway, because most of the time they 
couldn't 'a' treed me because I didn't breathe. I 
was too scared. And, besides, a body couldn't 
breathe and hear sach talk. They talked low and 
earnest. Bill wanted to kill Turner. He says: 

"He's said he'll tell, and he will. If we was to 
give both our shares to him now it wouldn't make 
no difference after the row and the way we've served 
him. Shore's you're born, he'll turn state's evi- 
dence; now you hear me. I'm for putting him out 
of his troubles." 

"So'm I," says Packard, very quiet. 

** Blame it, I'd sorter begun to think you wasn't. 
Well, then, that's all right. Le's go and do it." 

"Hold on a minute; I hain't had my say yit. You 
listen to me. Shooting's good, but there's quieter 
ways if the things got to be done. But what / say 
is this: it ain't good sense to go court'n' around after 
a halter if you can git at what you're up to in some 
way that's jist as good and at the same time don't 
bring you into no resks. Ain't that so?" 

"You bet it is. But how you goin' to manage it 
this time?" 

"Well, my idea is this: we'll rustle around and 
gather up whatever pickin's we've overlooked in the 
staterooms, and shove for shore and hide the truck. 
Then we'll wait. Now I say it ain't a-goin' to be 
more'n two hours befo' this wrack breaks up and 

96 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

washes off down the river. See? He'll be drownded, 
and won't have nobody to blame for it but his own 
self. I reckon that's a considerable sight better 'n 
killin' of him. I'm unfavorable to killin' a man as 
long as you can git aroun' it; it ain't good sense, it 
ain't good morals. Ain't I right?" 

"Yes, I reck'n you are. But s'pose she don't 
break up and wash off?" 

''Well, we can wait the two hours anyway and 
see, can't we?" 

*'AU right, then; come along." 

So they started, and I lit out, all in a cold sweat, 
and scrambled forward. It was dark as pitch there ; 
but I said, in a kind of a coarse whisper, "Jim!" and 
he answered up, right at my elbow, with a sort of a 
moan, and I says: 

"Quick, Jim, it ain't no time for fooling around 
and moaning; there's a gang of murderers in yonder, 
and if we don't hunt up their boat and set her 
drifting down the river so these fellows can't get 
away from the wreck there's one of 'em going to be 
in a bad fix. But if we find their boat we can put 
all of 'em in a bad fix — for the sheriff '11 get 'em. 
Quick — hurry 1 I'll hunt the labboard side, you hunt 
the stabboard. You start at the raft, and — " 

"Oh, my lordy, lordy! Raff Dey ain' no raf* 
no mo'; she done broke loose en gone! — en here 
we is!" 



CHAPTER XIII . - 

WELL, I catched my breath and most fainted. 
Shut up on a wreck with such a gang as that ! 
But it warn't no time to be sentimentering. We'd 
got to find that boat now — had to have it for our- 
selves. So we went a-quaking and shaking down the 
stabboard side, and slow work it was, too — seemed 
a week before we got to the stern. No sign of a boat. 
Jim said he didn't believe he could go any farther — 
so scared he hadn't hardly any strength left, he said. 
But I said, come on, if we get left on this wreck we 
are in a fix, sure. So on we prowled again. We 
struck for the stern of the texas, and found it, and 
then scrabbled along forwards on the skylight, hang- 
ing on from shutter to shutter, for the edge of the 
skylight was in the water. When we got pretty close 
to the cross-hall door there was the skiff, sure enough ! 
I could just barely see her. I felt ever so thankful. 
In another second I would 'a' been aboard of her, but 
just then the door opened. One of the men stuck 
his head out only about a couple of foot from me, 
and I thought I was gone ; but he jerked it in again, 
and says : 

"Heave that blame lantern out o' sight. Bill!" 
He flung a bag of something into the boat, and then 
got in himself and set down. It was Packard. Then 

98 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

Bill he come out and got in. Packard says, in a low 
voice : 

"All ready— shove off !" 

I couldn't hardly hang on to the shutters, I was so 
weak. But Bill says: 

"Hold on — 'd you go through him?" 

"No. Didn't you?" 

"No. So he's got his share o' the cash yet." 

"Well, then, come along; no use to take truck and 
leave money." 

"Say, won't he suspicion what we're up to?" 

' ' Maybe he won't. But we got to have it anyway. 
Come along." 

So they got out and went in. 

The door slammed to because it was on the 
careened side; and in a half second I was in the boat, 
and Jim come tumbling after me. I out with my 
knife and cut the rope, and away we went ! 

We didn't touch an oar, and we didn't speak nor 
whisper, nor hardly even breathe. We went gliding 
swift along, dead silent, past the tip of the paddle- 
box, and past the stern ; then in a second or two more 
we was a hundred yards below the wreck, and the 
darkness soaked her up, every last sign of her, and we 
was safe, and knowed it. 

When we was three or four hundred yards down- 
stream we see the lantern show like a little spark at 
the texas door for a second, and we knowed by that 
that the rascals had missed their boat, and was 
beginning to understand that they was in just as 
much trouble now as Jim Turner was. 

Then Jim manned the oars, and we took out after 
99 



MARK TWAIN 

our raft. Now was the first time that I begun to 
worry about the men — I reckon I hadn't had time 
to before. I begun to think how dreadful it was, even 
for murderers, to be in such a fix. I says to myself, 
there ain't no telling but I might come to be a mur- 
derer myself yet. and then how would I like it? So 
says I to Jim: 

"The first light we see we'll land a hundred yards 
below it or above it, in a place where it's a good 
hiding-place for you and the skiff, and then I'll go 
and fix up some kind of a yarn, and get somebody 
to go for that gang and get them out of their scrape, 
so they can be hung when their time comes." 

But that idea was a failure; for pretty soon it 
begun to storm again, and this time worse than ever. 
The rain poured down, and never a light showed; 
everybody in bed, I reckon. We boomed along down 
the river, watching for lights and watching for our 
raft. After a long time the rain let up, but the clouds 
stayed, and the lightning kept whimpering, and by 
and by a flash showed us a black thing ahead, floating, 
and we made for it. 

It was the raft, and mighty glad was we to get 
aboard of it again. We seen a light now away down 
to the right, on shore. So I said I would go for it. 
The skiff was half full of plunder which that gang had 
stole there on the wreck. We hustled it on to the raft 
in a pile, and I told Jim to float along down, and show 
a light when he judged he had gone about two mile, 
and keep it burning till I come; then I manned my 
oars and shoved for the light. As I got down towards 
it three or four more showed — up on a hillside. It 

lOO 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

was a village. I closed in above the shore light, and 
laid on my oars and floated. As I went by I see it 
was a lantern hanging on the jackstaff of a double- 
hull ferryboat. I skimmed around for the watchman, 
a- wondering whereabouts he slept ; and by and by I 
found him roosting on the bitts forward, with his head 
down between his knees. I gave his shoulder two or 
three little shoves, and begun to cry. 

He stirred up in a kind of a startlish way ; but when 
he see it was only me he took a good gap and stretch, 
and then he says : 

''Hello, what's up? Don't cry, bub. What's the 
trouble?" 

I says: 

"Pap, and mam, and sis, and — " 

Then I broke down. He says: 

"Oh, dang it now, don't take on so; we all has to 
have our troubles, and this 'n '11 come out all right. 
What's the matter with 'em?" 

"They're — they're — are you the watchman of the 
boat?" 

"Yes," he says, kind of pretty- well-satisfied like. 
"I'm the captain and the owner and the mate and the 
pilot and watchman and head deck-hand ; and some- 
times I'm the freight and passengers. I ain't as rich 
as old Jim Hornback, and I can't be so blame' gen- 
erous and good to Tom, Dick, and Harry as what he 
is, and slam around money the way he does; but I've 
told him a many a time 't I wouldn't trade places 
with him; for, says I, a sailor's life's the life for me, 
and I'm derned if Fd live two mile out o' town, 
where there ain't nothing ever goin' on, not for 

lOI 



MARK TWAIN 

all his spondulicks and as much more on top of it. 
Says I — " 

I broke in and says : 

"They're in an awful peck of trouble, and — " 

''Who 'isV 

"Why, pap and mam and sis and Miss Hooker; 
and if you'd take your ferryboat and go up there — " 

"Up where? Where are they?" 

"On the wreck." 

"What wreck?" 

"Why, there ain't but one." 

"What, you don't mean the Walter ScottV 

"Yes." 

"Good land! what are they doin' there, for gracious 
sakes?" 

"Well, they didn't go there a-purpose." 

"I bet they didn't! Why, great goodness, there 
ain't no chance for 'em if they don't git off mighty 
quick! Why, how in the nation did they ever git 
into such a scrape?" 

"Easy enough. Miss Hooker was a-visiting up 
there to the town — " 

"Yes, Booth's Landing — go on." 

"She was a-visiting there at Booth's Landing, and 
just in the edge of the evening she started over with 
her nigger woman in the horse-ferry to stay all 
night at her friend's house, Miss What-you-may-call- 
her — I disremember her name — and they lost their 
steering-oar, and swung around and went a-fioating 
down, stern first, about two mile, and saddle-baggsed 
on the wreck, and the ferryman and the nigger 
woman and the horses was all lost, but Miss Hooker 

102 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

she made a grab and got aboard the wreck. Well, 
about an hour after dark we come along down in our 
trading-scow, and it was so dark we didn't notice 
the wreck till we was right on it; and so we saddle- 
baggsed ; but all of us was saved but Bill Whipple — 
and oh, he was the best cretur! — I most wish 't it 
had been me, I do." 

''My George! It's the beatenest thing I ever 
struck. And then what did you all do?" 

''Well, we hollered and took on, but it's so wide 
there we couldn't make nobody hear. So pap said 
somebody got to get ashore and get help somehow. 
I was the only one that could swim, so I made a 
dash for it, and Miss Hooker she said if I didn't 
strike help sooner, come here and hunt up her uncle, 
and he'd fix the thing. I made the land about a 
mile below, and been fooling along ever since, trying 
to get people to do something, but they said, 'What, 
in such a night and such a current? There ain't no 
sense in it; go for the steam-ferry.' Now if you'll 
go and — " 

"By Jackson, I'd like to, and, blame it, I don't 
know but I will ; but who in the dingnation's a-going 
to pay for it? Do you reckon your pap — " 

"Why that's all right. Miss Hooker she tola me, 
particular, that her uncle Hornback — " 

"Great guns! is he her uncle? Looky here, you 
break for that light over yonder-way, and turn out 
iwest when you git there, and about a quarter of a 
mile out you'll come to the tavern; tell 'em to dart 
you out to Jim Hornback's, and he'll foot the bill. 
And don't you fool around any, because he'll want 

8 103 



MARK TWAIN 

to know the news. Tell him I'll have his niece all 
safe before he can get to town. Hump yourself, 
now; I'm a-going up around the corner here to roust 
out my engineer." 

I struck for the light, but as soon as he turned the 
corner I went back and got into my skiff and bailed 
her out, and then pulled up shore in the easy water 
about six hundred yards, and tucked myself in 
among some wood-boats; for I couldn't rest easy till 
I could see the ferryboat start. But take it all 
around, I was feeling ruther comfortable on accounts 
of taking all this trouble for that gang, for not 
many would 'a' done it. I wished the widow knowed 
about it. I judged she would be proud of me for 
helping these rapscallions, because rapscallions and 
dead-beats is the kind the widow and good people 
takes the most interest in. 

Well, before long here comes the wreck, dim and 
dusky, sliding along down! A kind of cold shiver 
went through me, and then I struck out for her. 
She was very deep, and I see in a minute there warn't 
much chance for anybody being alive in her. I 
pulled all around her and hollered a little, but there 
wasn't any answer; all dead still. I felt a little bit 
heavy-hearted about the gang, but not much, for 
I reckoned if they could stand it I could. 

Then here comes the ferryboat ; so I shoved for the 
middle of the river on a long down-stream slant ; and 
when I judged I was out of eye-reach I laid on my 
oars, and looked back and see her go and smell 
around the wreck for Miss Hooker's remainders, 
because the captain would know her uncle Hornback 

104 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

would want them ; and then pretty soon the ferryboat 
give it up and went for the shore, and I laid into my 
work and went a-booming down the river. 

It did seem a powerful long time before Jim's 
light showed up; and when it did show it looked like 
it was a thousand mile off. By the time I got there 
the sky was beginning to get a little gray in the 
east; so we struck for an island, and hid the raft, and 
sunk the skiff, and turned in and slept like dead 
people. 



CHAPTER XIV 

BY and by, when we got up, w^e turned over the 
truck the gang had stole off of the wreck, and 
found boots, and blankets, and clothes, and all sorts 
of other things, and a lot of books, and a spy -glass, 
and three boxes of seegars. We hadn't ever been 
this rich before in neither of our lives. The seegars 
was prime. We laid off all the afternoon in the 
woods talking, and me reading the books, and having 
a general good time. I told Jim all about what hap- 
pened inside the wreck and at the ferryboat, and I 
said these kinds of things was adventures; but he 
said he didn't want no more adventures. He said 
that when I went in the texas and he crawled back 
to get on the raft and found her gone he nearly died, 
because he judged it was all up with him anyway it 
could be fixed; for if he didn't get saved he w^ould 
get drownded; and if he did get saved, whoever 
saved him would send him back home so as to get 
the reward, and then Miss Watson would sell him 
South, sure. Well, he was right ; he was most always 
right; he had an uncommon level head for a nigger. 
I read considerable to Jim about kings and dukes 
and earls and such, and how gaudy they dressed, and 
how much style they put on, and called each other 
your majesty, and your grace, and your lordship, 

J 06 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

and so on, 'stead of mister; and Jim's eyes bugged 
out, and he was interested. He says: 

**I didn' know dey was so many un um. I hain't 
hearn 'bout none un um, skasely, but ole King Sol- 
lermun, onless you counts dem kings dat's in a pack 
er k'yards. How much do a king git?" 

"Get?" I says; '*why, they get a thousand dollars 
a month if they want it ; they can have just as much 
as they want; everything belongs to them." 

'' Ain' dat gay? En what dey got to do, Huck?" 

''They don't do nothing! Why, how you talk! 
They just set around." 

"No; is dat so?" 

"Of course it is. They just set around — except, 
maybe, when there's a war; then they go to the war. 
But other times they just lazy around; or go hawking 
— just hawking and sp — Sh!— d'you hear a noise?" 

We skipped out and looked ; but it warn't nothing 
but the flutter of a steamboat's wheel away down, 
coming around the point ; so we come back. 

"Yes," says I, "and other times, when things is 
dull, they fuss with the parly ment ; and if everybody 
don't go just so he whacks their heads off. But 
mostly they hang round the harem." 

"Roun' de which?" 

"Harem." 

"What's de harem?" 

"The place where he keeps his wives. Don't you 
know about the harem? Solomon had one; he had 
about a million wives." 

"Why, yes, dat's so; I — I'd done forgot it. A 
harem's a bo'd'n-house, I reck'n. Mos' likely dey 

icy 



MARK TWAIN 

has rackety times in de nussery. En I reck'n de 
wives quarrels considable; en dat 'crease de racket. 
Yit dey say Seller mun de wises' man dat ever live'. 
I doan' take no stock in dat. Bekase why: would a 
wise man want to live in de mids' er sich a blim- 
blammin' all de time? No — 'deed he wouldn't. A 
wise man 'ud take en buil' a biler-f actry ; en den he 
could shet down de biler-f actry when he want to res'." 

"Well, but he was the wisest man, anyway; be- 
cause the widow she told me so, her own self." 

**I doan' k'yer what de widder say, he warn't no 
wise man nuther. He had some er de dad-fetchedes' 
ways I ever see. Does you know 'bout dat chile 
dat he 'uz gwyne to chop in two?" 

"Yes, the widow told me all about it." 

''Well, den! Warn' dat de beatenes' notion in de 
worl' ? You jes' take en look at it a minute. Dah's 
de stump, dah — dat's one er de women; heah's you 
— dat's de yuther one; I's Sollermun; en dish yer 
dollar bill's de chile. Bofe un you claims it. What 
does I do? Does I shin aroun' mongs' de neighbors 
en fine out which un you de bill do b'long to, en han' 
it over to de right one, all safe en soun', de way dat 
anybody dat had any gumption would? No; I take 
en whack de bill in two, en give half un it to you, 
en de yuther half to de yuther woman. Dat's de 
way Sollermun was gwyne to do wid de chile. Now 
I want to ast you: what's de use er dat half a bill? — 
can't buy noth'n wid it. En what use is a half a 
chile? I wouldn' give a dern for a million un um.'* 

"But hang it, Jim, you've clean missed the point 
— blame it, you've missed it a thousand mile." 

io8 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

"Who? Me? Go 'long. Doan' talk to me 'bout 
yo' pints. I reck'n I knows sense when I sees it; 
en dey ain' no sense in sich doin's as dat. De 'spute 
warn't 'bout a half a chile, de 'spute was 'bout a 
whole chile; en de man dat think he kin settle a 
'spute 'bout a whole chile wid a half a chile doan' 
know enough to come in out'n de rain. Doan' talk to 
me 'bout Sollermun, Huck, I knows him by de back." 

"But I tell you you don't get the point." 

* ' Blame de point ! I reck'n I knows what I knows. 
En mine you, de real pint is down furder — it's down 
deeper. It lays in de way Sollermun was raised. 
You take a man dat's got on'y one or two chillen; is 
dat man gwyne to be waseful o' chillen? No, he 
ain't; he can't 'ford it. He know how to value 'em. 
But you take a man dat's got 'bout five million 
chillen runnin' roun' de house, en it's diffunt. He 
as soon chop a chile in two as a cat. Dey's plenty 
mo'. A chije er two, mo' er less, warn't no consekens 
to Sollermun, dad fetch him!" 

I never see such a nigger. If he got a notion in 
his head once, there warn't no getting it out again. 
He was the most down on Solomon of any nigger I 
ever see. So I went to talking about other kings, 
and let Solomon sHde. I told about Louis Sixteenth 
that got his head cut off in France long time ago; 
and about his httle boy the dolphin, that would 'a' 
been a king, but they took and shut him up in jail, 
and some say he died there. 

"Po' little chap." 

"But some says he got out and got away, and 
come to America." 

109 



MARK TWAIN 

''Dat's good! But he'll be pooty lonesome — dey 
ain' no kings here, is dey, Huck?" 

''No." 

' ' Den he cain't git no situation. What he gwyne 
to do?" 

"Well, I don't know. Some of them gets on the 
police, and some of them learns people how to talk 
French." 

"Why, Huck, doan' de French people talk de 
same way we does?" 

''No, Jim; you couldn't understand a word they 
said — not a single word." 

"Well, now, I be ding-busted! How do dat 
come?" 

"/ don't know; but it's so. I got some of their 
jabber out of a book. S'pose a man was to come 
to you and sa}^ Polly-voo-franzy — what would you 
think?" 

"I wouldn' think nuffn; I'd take en bust him 
over de head — dat is, if he warn't white. I wouldn't 
'low no nigger to call me dat." 

"Shucks, it ain't calling you anything. It's only 
saying, do you know how to talk French?" 

"Well, den, why couldn't he say it?" 

"Why, he is a-saying it. That's a Frenchman's 
way of saying it." 

"Well, it's a blame ridicklous way, en I doan' want 
to hear no mo' 'bout it. Dey ain' no sense in it." 

"Looky here, Jim; does a cat talk like we do?" 

"No, a cat don't." 

"Well, does a cow?" 

"No, a cow don't, nuther." 
no 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

*'Does a cat talk like a cow, or a cow talk like 
a cat?" 

''No, dey don't." 

"It's natural and right for 'em to talk different 
from each other, ain't it?" 

"Course." 

"And ain't it natural and right for a cat and a 
cow to talk different from wsf" 

"Why, mos' sholy it is." 

"Well, then, why ain't it natural and right for a 
Frenchman to talk different from us? You answer 
me that." 

"Is a cat a man, Huck?" 

"No." 

"Well, den, dey ain't no sense in a cat talkin' like 
a man. Is a cow a man? — er is a cow a cat?" 

"No, she ain't either of them." 

"Well, den, she ain't got no business to talk like 
either one er the yuther of 'em. Is a Frenchman 
a man?" 

"Yes." 

''Well, den! Dad blame it, why doan' he talk like 
a man? You answer me datT' 

I see it warn't no use wasting words — you can't 
learn a nigger to argue. So I quit. 



b 



CHAPTER XV 

WE judged that three nights more would fetch 
us to Cairo, at the bottom of IlHnois, where 
the Ohio River comes in, and that was what we was 
after. We would sell the raft and get on a steam- 
boat and go way up the Ohio amongst the free 
states, and then be out of trouble. 

Well, the second night a fog begun to come on, and 
we made for a towhead to tie to, for it wouldn't do 
to try to run in a fog; but when I paddled ahead in 
the canoe, with the line to make fast, there warn't 
anything but little saplings to tie to. I passed the 
Hne around one of them right on the edge of the cut 
bank, but there was a stiff current, and the raft 
come booming down so lively she tore it out by the 
roots and away she went. I see the fog closing 
down, and it made me so sick and scared I couldn't 
budge for most a half a minute it seemed to me — 
and then there warn't no raft in sight; you couldn't 
see twenty yards. I jumped into the canoe and run 
back to the stern, and grabbed the paddle and set 
her back a stroke. But she didn't come. I was in 
such a hurry I hadn't untied her; I got up and 
tried to untie her, but I was so excited my hands 
shook so I couldn't hardly do anything with them. 

As soon as I got started I took out after the raft, 

112 



I 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

hot and heavy, right down the towhead. That was 
all right as far as it went, but the towhead warn't 
sixty yards long, and the minute I flew by the foot of 
it I shot out into the solid white fog, and hadn't no 
more idea which way I was going than a dead man. 

Thinks I, it won't do to paddle; first I know I'll 
run into the bank or a towhead or something; I got 
to set still and float, and yet it's mighty fidgety 
business to have to hold your hands still at such a 
time. I whooped and listened. Away down there 
somewheres I hears a small whoop, and up comes 
my spirits. I went tearing after it, listening sharp 
to hear it again. The next time it come I see I 
warn't heading for it, but heading away to the right 
of it. And the next time I was heading away to the 
left of it — and not gaining on it much either, for I 
was flying around, this way and that and t'other, 
but it was going straight ahead all the time. 

I did wish the fool would think to beat a tin pan, 
and beat it all the time, but he never did, and it 
was the still places between the whoops that was 
making the trouble for me. Well, I fought along, 
and directly I hears the whoop behind me. I was 
tangled good now. That was somebody else's 
whoop, or else I was turned around. 

I thro wed the paddle down. I heard the whoop 
again; it was behind me yet, but in a different place; 
it kept coming, and kept changing its place, and I 
kept answering, till by and by it was in front of me 
again, and I knowed the current had swung the 
canoe's head down-stream, and I was all right if 
that was Jim and not some other raftsman hollering. 

113 



MARK TWAIN 

I couldn't tell nothing about voices in a fog, for 
nothing don't look natural nor sound natural in a fog. 

The whooping went on, and in about a minute I 
come a-booming down on a cut bank with smoky 
ghosts of big trees on it, and the current throwed me 
off to the left and shot by, amongst a lot of snags 
that fairly roared, the current was tearing by them 
so swift. 

In another second or two it was solid white and 
still again. I set perfectly still then, listening to 
my heart thump, and I reckon I didn't draw a 
breath while it thumped a hundred. 

I just give up then. I knowed what the matter 
was. That cut bank was an island, and Jim had 
gone down t'other side of it. It warn't no towhead 
that you could float by in ten minutes. It had the 
big timber of a regular island ; it might be five or six 
miles long and more than half a mile wide. 

I kept quiet, with my ears cocked, about fifteen 
minutes, I reckon. I was floating along, of course, 
four or five miles an hour; but you don't ever think 
of that. No, you J eel like you are laying dead still 
on the water; and if a little glimpse of a snag slips 
by you don't think to yourself how fast you're going, 
but you catch your breath and think, my ! how that 
snag's tearing along. If you think it ain't dismal 
and lonesome out in a fog that way by yourself in 
the night, you try it once — you'll see. 

Next, for about a half an hour, I whoops now and 
then; at last I hears the answer a long ways off, and 
tries to follow it, but I couldn't do it, and directly 
I judged I'd got into a nest of towheads, for I had 

114 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

little dim glimpses of them on both sides of me — 
sometimes just a narrow channel between, and some 
that I couldn't see I knowed was there because I'd 
hear the wash of the current against the old dead 
brush and trash that hung over the banks. Well, 
I warn't long loosing the whoops down amongst the 
towheads; and I only tried to chase them a little 
while, anyway, because it was w^orse than chasing a 
Jack-o'-lantern. You never knowed a sound dodge 
around so, and swap places so quick and so much. 

I had to claw away from the bank pretty lively four 
or five times, to keep from knocking the islands out of 
the river; and so I judged the raft must be butting 
into the bank every now and then, or else it would 
get further ahead and clear out of hearing — it was 
floating a little faster than what I was. 

Well, I seemed to be in the open river again by 
and by, but I couldn't hear no sign of a whoop no- 
wheres. I reckoned Jim had fetched up on a snag, 
maybe, and it was all up with him. I was good and 
tired, so I laid down in the canoe and said I wouldn't 
bother no more. I didn't want to go to sleep, of 
course; but I was so sleepy I couldn't help it; so I 
thought I would take jest one little cat-nap. 

But I reckon it was more than a cat-nap, for when 
I waked up the stars was shining bright, the fog was 
all gone, and I was spinning down a big bend stern 
first. First I didn't know where I was; I thought I 
was dreaming ; and when things began to come back 
to me they seemed to come up dim out of last week. 

It was a monstrous big river here, with the tallest 
and the thickest kind of timber on both banks; just 

H5 



MARK TWAIN 

a solid wall, as well as I could see by the stars. I 
looked away down-stream, and seen a black speck 
on the water. I took after it; but when I got to it 
it warn't nothing but a couple of saw-logs made fast 
together. Then I see another speck, and chased 
that; then another, and this time I was right. It 
was the raft. 

When I got to it Jim was setting there with his 
head down between his knees, asleep, with his right 
arm hanging over the steering-oar. The other oar 
was smashed off, and the raft was littered up with 
leaves and branches and dirt. So she'd had a rough 
time. 

I made fast and laid down under Jim's nose on the 
raft, and began to gap, and stretch my fists out 
against Jim, and says: 

"Hello, Jim, have I been asleep? Why didn't you 
stir me up?" 

"Goodness gracious, is dat you, Huck? En you 
ain' dead — you ain' drownded — you's back ag'in? 
It's too good for true, honey, it's too good for true. 
Lemme look at you chile, lemme feel o' you. No, 
you ain' dead! you's back ag'in, 'live en soun', jis de 
same ole Huck — de same ole Huck, thanks to good- 
ness!" 

'"What's the matter with you, Jim? You been 
a-drinking?" 

"Drinkin'? Has I ben a-drinkin'? Has I had a 
chance to be a-drinkin'?" 

"Well, then, what makes you talk so wild?" 

"HowdoesI talk wild?" 

"How? Why, hain't you beau talking about my 
n6 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

coming back, and all that stuff, as if I'd been gone 
away?" 

"Huck — Huck Finn, you look me in de eye; look 
me in de eye. Hain't you ben gone away?" 

**Gone away? Why, what in the nation do you 
mean? I hain't been gone anywheres. Where would 
I go to?" 

"Well, looky here, boss, dey's sumfn wrong, dey 
is. Is I me, or who is I? Is I heah, or whah is I? 
Now dat's what I wants to know." 

**Well, I think you're here, plain enough, but I 
think you're a tangle-headed old fool, Jim." 

"I is, is I? Well, you answer me dis: Didn't you 
tote out de line in de canoe fer to make fas' to de tow- 
head?" 

"No, I didn't. What towhead? I hain't seen no 
towhead." 

"You hain't seen no towhead? Looky here, didn't 
de line pull loose en de raf go a-hummin' down de 
river, en leave you en de canoe behine in de fog?" 

"What fog?" 

"Why, dc fog! — de fog dat's been aronn' all night. 
En didn't you whoop, en didn't I whoop, tell we got 
mix' up in de islands en one un us got los' en t'other 
one was jis' as good as los', 'kase he didn' know whah 
he wuz? En didn't I bust up agin a lot er dem islands 
en have a turrible time en mos' git drownded? Now 
ain' dat so, boss — ain't it so? You answer me dat." 

"Well, this is too many for me, Jim. I hain't seen 
no fog, nor no islands, nor no troubles, nor nothing. 
I been setting here talking with you all night till you 
went to sleep about ten minutes ago, and I reckoii I 

117 



MARK TWAIN 

done the same. You couldn't 'a' got drunk in that 
time, so of course you've been dreaming." 

"Dad fetch it, how is I gwyne to dream all dat in 
ten minutes?" 

"Well, hang it all, you did dream it, because there 
didn't any of it happen." 

"But, Huck, it's all jis' as plain to me as — " 

"It don't make no difference how plain it is ; there 
ain't nothing in it. I know, because I've been here 
all the time." 

Jim didn't say nothing for about five minutes, but 
set there studying over it. Then he says : 

"Well, den, I reck'n I did dream it, Huck; but 
dog my cats ef it ain't de powerfulest dream I ever 
see. En I hain't ever had no dream b'fo' dat's tired 
me like dis one." 

"Oh, well, that's all right, because a dream does 
tire a body like everything sometimes. But this one 
was a staving dream; tell me all about it, Jim." 

So Jim went to work and told me the whole thing 
right through, just as it happened, only he painted it 
up considerable. Then he said he must start in and 
"'terpret" it, because it was sent for a warning. He 
said the first towhead stood for a man that would try 
to do us some good, but the current was another man 
that would get us away from him. The whoops was 
warnings that would come to us every now and then, 
and if we didn't try hard to make out to understand 
them they'd just take us into bad luck, 'stead of keep- 
ing us out of it. The lot of towheads was troubles 
we was going to get into with quarrelsome people and 
all kinds of mean folks, but if we minded our business 

ii8 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

and didn't talk back and aggravate them, we would 
pull through and get out of the fog and into the big 
clear river, which was the free states, and wouldn't 
have no more trouble. 

It had clouded up pretty dark just after I got on to 
the raft, but it was clearing up again now. 

"Oh, well, that's all interpreted well enough as far 
as it goes, Jim," I says; "but what does these things 
stand for?" 

It was the leaves and rubbish on the raft and the 
smashed oar. You could see them first-rate now. 

Jim looked at the trash, and then looked at me, and 
back at the trash again. He had got the dream fixed 
so strong in his head that he couldn't seem to shake it 
loose and get the facts back into its place again right 
away. But when he did get the thing straightened 
around he looked at me steady without ever smiling, 
and says: 

"What do dey stan' for? I's gwyne to tell you. 
When I got all wore out wid work, en wid de callin' 
for you, en went to sleep, my heart wuz mos' broke 
bekase you wuz los', en I didn' k'yer no' mo' what 
become er me en de raf. En when I wake up en fine 
you back ag'in, all safe en soun', de tears come, en I 
could 'a' got down on my knees en kiss yo' foot, I's so 
thankful. En all you wuz thinkin' 'bout wuz how 
you could make a fool uv ole Jim wid a lie. Dat truck 
dah is trash; en trash is what people is dat puts dirt 
on de head er dey fren's en makes 'em ashamed." 

Then he got up slow and walked to the wigwam, 
and went in there without saying anything but that. 
But that was enough. It made me feel so mean I 

9 119 



MARK TWAIN 

cotdd almost kissed his foot to get him to take it 
back. 

It was fifteen minutes before I could work myself 
up to go and humble myself to a nigger; but I done 
it, and I warn't ever sorry for it afterward, neither. 
I didn't do him no more mean tricks, and I wouldn't 
done that one if I'd 'a' knowed it would make him 
feel that way. 



CHAPTER XVI 

WE slept most all day, and started out at night, 
a little ways behind a monstrous long raft 
that was as long going by as a procession. She had 
four long sweeps at each end, so we judged she car- 
ried as many as thirty men, likely. She had five big 
wigwams aboard, wide apart, and an open camp-fire 
in the middle, and a tall flag-pole at each end. There 
was a power of style about her. It amounted to some- 
thing being a raftsman on such a craft as that. 

We went drifting down into a big bend, and the 
night clouded up and got hot. The river was very 
wide, and was walled with solid timber on both sides ; 
you couldn't see a break in it hardly ever, or a light. 
We talked about Cairo, and wondered whether we 
would know it when we got to it. I said likely we 
wouldn't, because I had heard say there warn't but 
about a dozen houses there, and if they didn't happen 
to have them lit up, how was we going to know we 
was passing a town? Jim said if the two big rivers 
joined together there, that would show. But I said 
maybe we might think we was passing the foot of an 
island and coming into the same old river again. That 
disturbed Jim — and me too. So the question was, 
what to do? I said, paddle ashore the first time a 
light showed, and tell them pap was behind, coming 

J3l 



MARK TWAIN 

along with a trading-scow, and was a green hand at 
the business, and wanted to know how far it was to 
Cairo. Jim thought it was a good idea, so we took a 
smoke on it and waited. 

There warn't nothing to do now but to look out 
sharp for the town, and not pass it without seeing it. 
He said he'd be mighty sure to see it, because he'd be 
a free man the minute he seen it, but if he missed it 
he'd be in a slave country again and no more show 
for freedom. Every little while he jumps up and 
says: 

"Dahsheis?" 

But it warn't. It was Jack-o'-lanterns, or light- 
ning-bugs ; so he set down again, and went to watch- 
ing, same as before. Jim said it made him all over 
trembly and feverish to be so close to freedom. 
Well, I can tell you it made me all over trembly and 
feverish, too, to hear him, because I begun to get it 
through my head that he was most free — and who 
was to blame for it ? Why, me. I couldn't get that 
out of my conscience, no how nor no way. It got to 
troubling me so I couldn't rest ; I couldn't stay still 
in one place. It hadn't ever come home to me 
before, what this thing was that I was doing. But 
now it did ; and it stayed with me, and scorched me 
more and more. I tried to make out to myself that 
I warn't to blame, because I didn't run Jim off from 
his rightful owner; but it warn't no use, conscience 
up and says, every time, ''But you knowed he was 
running for his freedom, and you could 'a' paddled 
ashore and told somebody." That was so — I 
CQiddn't get around that no way. That was where 

J22 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

it pinched. Conscience says to me, ' * What had poor 
Miss Watson done to you that you could see her 
nigger go off right under your eyes and never say 
one single word? What did that poor old woman 
do to you that you could treat her so mean? Why, 
she tried to learn you your book, she tried to learn 
you your manners, she tried to be good to you every 
way she knowed how. That's what she done." 

I got to feeling so mean and so miserable I most 
wished I was dead. I fidgeted up and down the raft, 
abusing myself to myself, and Jim was fidgeting up 
and down past me. We neither of us could keep 
still. Every time he danced around and says, 
"Dah's Cairo!" it went through me like a shot, and 
I thought if it was Cairo I reckoned I would die of 
miserableness. 

Jim talked out loud all the time while I was talking 
to myself. He was saying how the first thing he 
would do when he got to a free state he would go to 
saving up money and never spend a single cent, and 
when he got enough he would buy his wife, which was 
owned on a farm close to where Miss Watson lived ; 
and then they would both work to buy the two chil- 
dren, and if their master wouldn't sell them, they'd 
get an Ab'litionist to go and steal them. 

It most froze me to hear such talk. He wouldn't 
ever dared to talk such talk in his life before. Just 
see what a difference it made in him the minute he 
judged he was about free. It was according to the old 
saying, ''Give a nigger an inch and he'll take an ell." 
Thinks I, this is what comes of my not thinking. 
Here was this nigger, which I had as good as helped 

123 



MARK TWAIN 

to run away, coming right out flat-footed and saying 
he would steal his children — children that belonged to 
a man I didn't even know; a man that hadn't ever 
done me no harm. 

I was sorry to hear Jim say that, it was such a 
lowering of him. My conscience got to stirring me 
up hotter than ever, until at last I says to it, "Let up 
on me — it ain't too late yet — I'll paddle ashore at the 
first light and tell." I felt easy and happy and light 
as a feather right off. All my troubles was gone. I 
went to looking out sharp for a light, and sort of sing- 
ing to myself. By and by one showed. Jim sings 
out: 

"We's safe, Huck, we's safe! Jump up and crack 
yo' heels! Dat's de good ole Cairo at las', I jis 
knows it!" 

I says: 

"I'll take the canoe and go and see, Jim. It 
mightn't be, you know." 

He jumped and got the canoe ready, and put his 
old coat in the bottom for me to set on, and give 
me the paddle; and as I shoved off, he says: 

"Pooty soon I'll be a-shout'n' for joy, en I'll say, 
it's all on accounts o' Huck; I's a free man, en I 
couldn't ever ben free ef it hadn' ben for Huck; 
Huck done it. Jim w^on't ever forgit you, Huck; 
you's de bes' fren' Jim's ever had; en you's de only 
fren' ole Jim's got now." 

I was paddling off, all in a sweat to tell on him; 
but when he says this, it seemed to kind of take the 
tuck all out of me. I went along slow then, and I 
warn't right down certain whether I was glad I 

124 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

started or whether I warn't. When I was fifty 
yards off, Jim says: 

"Dah you goes, de ole true Huck; de on'y white 
genlman dat ever kep' his promise to ole Jim." 

Well, I just felt sick. But I says, I got to do it — 
I can't get out of it. Right then along comes a skiff 
with two men in it with guns, and they stopped and 
I stopped. One of them says: 

"What's that yonder?" 

"A piece of a raft," I says. 

"Do you belong on it?" 

"Yes, sir!" 

"Any men on it?" 

"Only one, sir." 

"Well, there's five niggers run off to-night up 
yonder, above the head of the bend. Is your man 
white or black?" 

I didn't answer up prompt. I tried to, but the 
words wouldn't come. I tried for a second or two 
to brace up and out with it, but I warn't man 
enough — hadn't the spunk of a rabbit. I see I was 
weakening; so I just give up trying, and up and 
says: 

"He's white." 

"I reckon we'll go and see for ourselves." 

"I wish you would," says I, "because it*s pap 
that's there, and maybe you'd help me tow the raft 
ashore where the light is. He's sick — and so is mam 
and Mary Ann." 

"Oh, the devil! we're in a hurry, boy. But I 
s'pose we've got to. Come, buckle to your paddle, 
and let's get along." 

I2S 



MARK TWAIN 

I buckled to my paddle and they laid to their oars. 
When we had made a stroke or two, I says: 

"Pap '11 be mighty much obleeged to you, I can 
tell you. Everybody goes away when I want them 
to help me tow the raft ashore, and I can't do it by 
myself." 

"Well, that's infernal mean. Odd, too. Say, boy, 
what's the matter with your father?" 

"It's the — a — the — well, it ain't anything much." 

They stopped pulling. It warn't but a mighty 
little ways to the raft now. One says: 

"Boy, that's a lie. What is the matter with your 
pap ? Answer up square now, and it '11 be the better 
for you." 

"I will, sir, I will, honest — but don't leave us, 
please. It's the — the — Gentlemen, if you'll only 
pull ahead, and let me heave you the headline, you 
won't have to come a-near the raft— please do." 

"Set her back, John, set her back!" says one. 
They backed water. "Keep away, boy — keep to 
looard. Confound it, I just expect the wind has 
blowed it to us. Your pap's got the smallpox, and 
you know it precious well. Why didn't you come out 
and say so? Do you want to spread it all over?" 

"Well," says I, a-blubbering, "I've told every- 
body before, and they just went away and left us." 

"Poor devil, there's something in that. We are 
right down sorry for you, but we — well, hang it, we 
don't want the smallpox, you see. Look here, I'll 
tell you what to do. Don't you try to land by your- 
self, or you'll smash everything to pieces. You float 
along down about twenty miles, and you'll come to 

126 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

a town on the left-hand side of the river. It will be 
long after sun-up then, and when you ask for help 
you tell them your folks are all down with chills and 
fever. Don't be a fool again, and let people guess 
what is the matter. Now we're trying to do you a 
kindness; so you just put twenty miles between us, 
that's a good boy. It wouldn't do any good to land 
yonder where the light is — it's only a wood-yard. 
Say, I reckon your father's poor, and I'm bound 
to say he's in pretty hard luck. Here, I'll put a 
twenty-dollar gold piece on this board, and you get 
it when it floats by. I feel mighty mean to leave 
you; but my kingdom! it won't do to fool with small- 
pox, don't you see?" 

''Hold on, ParJ<:er," says the man, "here's a 
twenty to put on the board for me. Good-by, boy; 
you do as Mr. Parker told you, and you'll be all 
right." 

''That's so, my boy — ^good-by, good-by. If you 
see any runaway niggers you get help and nab them, 
and you can make some money by it." 

"Good-by, sir," says I; "I won't let no runaway 
niggers get by me if I can help it." 

They went off and I got aboard the raft, feeling 
bad and low, because I knowed very well I had done 
wrong, and I see it warn't no use for me to try to 
learn to do right ; a body that don't get started right 
when he's little ain't got no show — when the pinch 
comes there ain't nothing to back him up and keep 
him to his work, and so he gets beat. Then I thought 
a minute, and says to myself, hold on; s'pose you'd 
'a' done right and give Jim up, would you felt better 

127 



MARK TWAIN 

than what you do now? No, says I, I'd feel bad — 
I'd feel just the same way I do now. Well, then, 
says I, what's the use you learning to do right when 
it's troublesome to do right and ain't no trouble to 
do wrong, and the wages is just the same? I was 
stuck. I couldn't answer that. So I reckoned I 
wouldn't bother no more about it, but after this 
always do whichever come handiest at the time. 

I went into the wigwam; Jim warn't there. I 
looked all around; he warn't anywhere. I says: 

"Jim!" 

"Here I is, Huck. Is dey out o' sight yit? Don't 
talk loud." 

He was in the river under the stern oar, with just 
his nose out. I told him they wpre out of sight, so 
he come aboard. He says: 

"I was a-listenin' to all de talk, en I slips into de 
river en was gwyne to shove for sho' if dey come 
aboard. Den I was gwyne to swim to de raf agin 
when dey was gone. But lawsy, how you did fool 
'em, Huck! Dat wuz de smartes' dodge! I tell you, 
chile, I 'spec it save' ole Jim — ole Jim ain't going 
to for git you for dat, honey." 

Then we talked about the money. It was a pretty 
good raise — twenty dollars apiece. Jim said we 
could take deck passage on a steamboat now, and the 
money would last us as far as we wanted to go in the 
free states. He said twenty mile more warn't far 
for the raft to go, but he wished we was already 
there. 

Towards daybreak we tied up, and Jim was 
mighty particular about hiding the raft good. Then 

128 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

he worked all day fixing things in bundles, and getting 
all ready to quit rafting. 

That night about ten we hove in sight of the 
lights of a town away down in a left-hand bend. 

I went off in the canoe to ask about it. Pretty 
soon I found a man out in the river with a skiff, 
setting a trot-line. I ranged up and says: 

''Mister, is that town Cairo?" 

"Cairo? no. You must be a blame' fool." 

"What town is it, mister?" 

"If you want to know, go and find out. If you 
stay here botherin' around me for about a half a 
minute longer you'll get something you won't want." 

I paddled to the raft. Jim was awful disap- 
pointed, but I said never mind, Cairo would be the 
next place, I reckoned. 

We passed another town before daylight, and I 
was going out again; but it was high ground, so I 
didn't go. No high ground about Cairo, Jim said. 
I had forgot it. We laid up for the day on a towhead 
tolerable close to the left-hand bank. I begun to 
suspicion something. So did Jim. I says : 

"Maybe we went by Cairo in the fog that night." 

He says: 

"Doan' le's talk about it, Huck. Po' niggers 
can't have no luck. I awluz 'spected dat rattlesnake- 
skin warn't done wid its work." 

"I wish I'd never seen that snake-skin, Jim — I do 
wish I'd never laid eyes on it." 

"It ain't yo' fault, Huck; you didn't know. 
Don't you blame yo'self 'bout it." 

When it was daylight, here was the clear Ohio 
129 



MARK TWAIN 

water inshore, sure enough, and outside was the old 
regular Muddy! So it was all up with Cairo. 

We talked it all over. It wouldn't do to take to 
the shore; we couldn't take the raft up the stream, 
of course. There warn't no way but to wait for 
dark, and start back in the canoe and take the 
chances. So we slept all day amongst the cotton- 
wood thicket, so as to be fresh for the work, and 
when we went back to the raft about dark the canoe 
was gone! 

We didn't say a word for a good while. There 
warn't anything to say. We both knowed well 
enough it was some more work of the rattlesnake- 
skin; so what was the use to talk about it? It 
would only look like we was finding fault, and that 
would be bound to fetch more bad luck — and keep on 
fetching it, too, till we knowed enough to keep still. 

By and by we talked about what we better do, 
and found there warn't no way but just to go along 
down with the raft till we got a chance to buy a 
canoe to go back in. We warn't going to borrow it 
w^hen there warn't anybody around, the way pap 
would do, for that might set people after us. 

So we shoved out after dark on the raft. 

Anybody that don't believe yet that it's foolish- 
ness to handle a snake-skin, after all that that snake- 
skin done for us, will believe it now if they read on 
and see what more it done for us. 

The place to buy canoes is off of rafts laying up 
at shore. But we didn't see no rafts laying up; so 
we went along during three hours and more. Well, 
the night got gray and ruther thick, which is the 

130 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

next meanest thing to fog. You can't tell the shape 
of the river, and you can't see no distance. It got to 
be very late and still, and then along comes a steam- 
boat up the river. We lit the lantern, and judged 
she would see it. Up-stream boats didn't generly 
come close to us ; they go out and follow the bars and 
hunt for easy water under the reefs; but nights like 
this they bull right up the channel against the whole 
river. 

We could hear her pounding along, but we didn't 
see her good till she was close. She aimed right for 
us. Often they do that and try to see how close 
they can come without touching; sometimes the 
wheel bites off a sweep, and then the pilot sticks his 
head out and laughs, and thinks he's mighty smart. 
Well, here she comes, and we said she was going to 
try and shave us; but she didn't seem to be sheering 
off a bit. She was a big one, and she was coming 
in a hurry, too, looking like a black cloud with rows 
of glow-worms around it; but all of a sudden she 
bulged out, big and scary, with a long row of wide- 
open furnace doors shining like red-hot teeth, and 
her monstrous bows and guards hanging right over 
us. There was a yell at us, and a jingling of bells 
to stop the engines, a powwow of cussing, and 
whistling of steam — and as Jim went overboard on 
one side and I on the other, she come smashing 
straight through the raft. 

I dived — and I aimed to find the bottom, too, for 
a thirty-foot wheel had got to go over me, and I 
wanted it to have plenty of room. I could always 
stay under water a minute; this time I reckon I 

131 



MARK TWAIN 

stayed under a minute and a half. Then I bounced 
for the top in a hurry, for I was nearly busting. I 
popped out to my armpits and blowed the water out 
of my nose, and puffed a bit. Of course there was 
a booming current; and of course that boat started 
her engines again ten seconds after she stopped them, 
for they never cared much for raftsmen; so now she 
was churning along up the river, out of sight in the 
thick weather, though I could hear her. 

I sung out for Jim about a dozen times, but I 
didn't get any answer; so I grabbed a plank that 
touched me while I was ''treading water," and struck 
out for shore, shoving it ahead of me. But I made 
out to see that the drift of the current was towards 
the left-hand shore, which meant that I was in a 
crossing; so I changed off and went that way. 

It was one of these long, slanting, two-mile cross- 
ings; so I was a good long time in getting over. I 
made a safe landing, and dumb up the bank. I 
couldn't see but a little ways, but I went poking 
along over rough ground for a quarter of a mile or 
more, and then I run across a big old-fashioned 
double log house before I noticed it. I was going 
to rush by and get away, but a lot of dogs jumped 
out and went to howling and barking at me, and I 
knowed better than to move another peg. 



CHAPTER XVII 

IN about a minute somebody spoke out of a win- 
dow without putting his head out, and says: 

"Be done, boys! Who's there?" 

I says: 

"It's me." 

"Who's me?" 

"George Jackson, sir." 

"-What do you want?" 

"I don't want nothing, sir. I only want to go 
along by, but the dogs won't let me." 

"What are you prowling around here this time of 
night for — hey?" 

"I warn't prowling around, sir; I fell overboard 
off of the steamboat." 

"Oh, you did, did you? Strike a light there, 
somebody. What did you say your name was?" 

"George Jackson, sir. I'm only a boy." 

"Look here, if you're telling the truth you needn't 
be afraid — nobody '11 hurt you. But don't try to 
budge; stand right where you are. Rouse out Bob 
and Tom, some of you, and fetch the guns. George 
Jackson, is there anybody with you?" 

"No, sir, nobody." 

I heard the people stirring around in the house 
now, and see a light. The man sung out : 

I 



MARK TWAIN 

"Snatch that Hght away, Betsy, you old fool — 
ain't you got any sense? Put it on the floor behind 
the front door. Bob, if you and Tom are ready, 
take your places." 

"All ready." 

"Now, George Jackson, do you know the Shep- 
herdsons?" 

"No, sir; I never heard of them." 

"Well, that may be so, and it mayn't. Now, all 
ready. Step forward, George Jackson. And mind, 
don't you hurry — come mighty slow. If there's 
anybody with you, let him keep back — if he shows 
himself he'll be shot. Come along now. Come 
slow; push the door open yourself — just enough to 
squeeze in, d'you hear?" 

I didn't hurry; I couldn't if I'd a-wanted to. I 
took one slow step at a time and there warn't a 
sound, only I thought I could hear my heart. The 
dogs were as still as the humans, but they followed a 
little behind me. When I got to the three log 
doorsteps I heard them unlocking and unbarring and 
unbolting. I put my hand on the door and pushed 
it a little and a little more till somebody said, 
"There, that's enough — put your head in." I done 
it, but I judged they would take it off. 

The candle was on the floor, and there they all 
was, looking at me, and me at them, for about a 
quarter of a minute: Three big men with guns 
pointed at me, which made me wince, I tell you; 
the oldest, gray and about sixty, the other two 
thirty or more — all of them fine and handsome — and 
the vSweetest old gray-headed lady, and back of her 

134 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

two young women which I couldn't see right well. 
The old gentleman says: 

''There; I reckon it's all right. Come in." 

As soon as I was in the old gentleman he locked 
the door and barred it and bolted it, and told the 
young men to come in with their guns, and they all 
went in a big parlor that had a new rag carpet on 
the floor, and got together in a corner that was out 
of the range of the front windows — there warn't none 
on the side. They held the candle, and took a good 
look at me, and all said, "Why, he ain't a Shepherd- 
son — no, there ain't any Shepherdson about him." 
Then the old man said he hoped I wouldn't mind 
being searched for arms, because he didn't mean no 
harm by it — it was only to make sure. So he didn't 
pry into my pockets, but only felt outside with his 
hands, and said it was all right. He told me to 
make myself easy and at home, and tell all about 
myself; but the old lady says: 

"Why, bless you, Saul, the poor thing's as wet as 
he can be; and don't you reckon it may be he's 
hungry?" 

"True for you, Rachel — I forgot." 

So the old lady says: 

"Betsy" (this was a nigger woman), "you fly 
around and get him something to eat as quick as you 
can, poor thing; and one of you girls go and wake 
up Buck and tell him — oh, here he is himself. Buck, 
take this little stranger and get the wet clothes off 
from him and dress him up in some of yours that's 
dry." 

Buck looked about as old as me — thirteen or four- 
10 135 



MARK TWAIN 

teen or along there, though he was a Httle bigger 
than me. He hadn't on anything but a shirt, and 
he was very frowzy-headed. He came in gaping and 
digging one fist into his eyes, and he was dragging 
a gun along with the other one. He says: 

"Ain't they no Shepherdsons around?" 

They said, no, 'twas a false alarm. 

"Well," he says, "if they'd 'a' ben some, I reckon 
I'd 'a' got one." 

They all laughed, and Bob says: 

"Why, Buck, they might have scalped us all, 
you've been so slow in coming." 

"Well, nobody come after me, and it ain't right. 
I'm always kept down; I don't get no show." 

"Never mind. Buck, my boy," says the old man, 
"you'll have show enough, all in good time, don't 
you fret about that. Go 'long with you now, and 
do as your mother told you." 

When we got up-stairs to his room he got me a 
coarse shirt and a roundabout and pants of his, and 
I put them on. While I was at it he asked me what 
my name was, but before I could tell him he started 
to tell me about a bluejay and a young rabbit he had 
catched in the woods day before yesterday, and he 
asked me where Moses was when the candle went 
out. I said I didn't know; I hadn't heard about it 
before, no way. 

"Well, guess," he says. 

"How'm I going to guess," says I, "when I never 
heard tell of it before?" 

"But you can guess, can't you? It's just as easy." 

''Which candle?" I says. 
136 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

"Why, any candle," he says. 

"I don't know where he was," says I; "where 
was he?" 

"Why, he was in the dark! That's where he was !" 

"Well, if you knowed where he was, what did you 
ask me for?" 

"Why, blame it, it's a riddle, don't you see? Say, 
how long are you going to stay here? You got to 
stay always. We can just have booming times — they 
don't have no school now. Do you own a dog? 
I've got a dog — and he'll go in the river and bring 
out chips that you throw in. Do you like to comb 
up Sundays, and all that kind of foolishness? You 
bet I don't, but ma she makes me. Confound these 
ole britches! I reckon I'd better put 'em on, but 
I'd ruther not, it's so warm. Are you all ready? 
All right. Come along, old hoss." 

Cold corn-pone, cold corn-beef, butter and butter- 
milk — that is what they had for me down there, and 
there ain't nothing better that ever I've come across 
yet. Buck and his ma and all of them smoked cob 
pipes, except the nigger woman, which was gone, and 
the two young women. They all smoked and talked, 
and I eat and talked. The young women had quilts 
around them, and their hair down their backs. They 
all asked me questions, and I told them how pap and 
me and all the family was living on a little farm down 
at the bottom of Arkansaw, and my sister Mary Ann 
run off and got married and never was heard of no 
more, and Bill went to hunt them and he warn't 
heard of no more, and Tom and Mort died, and then 
there warn't nobody but just me and pap left, and he 

137 



MARK TWAIN 

was just trimmed down to nothing, on account of his 
troubles; so when he died I took what there was left, 
because the farm didn't belong to us, and started up 
the river, deck passage, and fell overboard ; and that 
was how I come to be here. So they said I could 
have a home there as long as I wanted it. Then it 
was most daylight and everybody went to bed, and I 
went to bed with Buck, and when I waked up in the 
morning, drat it all, I had forgot what my name was. 
So I laid there about an hour trying to think, and 
when Buck waked up I says: 

''Can you spell, Buck?" 

"Yes," he says. 

**I bet you can't spell my name," says I. 

"I bet you what you dare I can," says he. 

"All right," says I, "go ahead." 

"G-e-o-r-g-e J-a-x-o-n — there now," he says. 

"Well," says I, "you done it, but I didn't think 
you could. It ain't no slouch of a name to spell — 
right off without studying." 

I set it down, private, because somebody might 
want me to spell it next, and so I wanted to be handy 
with it and rattle it off like I was used to it. 

It was a mighty nice family, and a mighty nice 
house, too. I hadn't seen no house out in the coun- 
try before that was so nice and had so much style. 
It didn't have an iron latch on the front door, nor a 
wooden one with a buckskin string, but a brass knob 
to turn, the same as houses in town. There warn't no 
bed in the parlor, nor a sign of a bed; but heaps of 
parlors in towns has beds in them. There was a big 
fireplace that was bricked on the bottpm, and the 

138 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

bricks was kept clean and red by pouring water on 
them and scrubbing them with another brick ; some- 
times they wash them over with red water-paint that 
they call Spanish-brown, same as they do in'town. 
They had big brass dog-irons that could hold up a 
saw-log. There was a clock on the middle of the 
mantelpiece, with a picture of a town painted on the 
bottom half of the glass front, and a round place in 
the middle of it for the sun, and you could see the 
pendulum swinging behind it. It was beautiful to 
hear that clock tick; and sometimes when one of 
these peddlers had been along and scoured her up and 
got her in good shape, she would start in and strike 
a hundred and fifty before she got tuckered out. 
They wouldn't took any money for her. 

Well, there was a big outlandish parrot on each 
side of the clock, made out of something like chalk, 
and painted up gaudy. By one of the parrots was a 
cat made of crockery, and a crockery dog by the 
other; and when you pressed down on them they 
squeaked, but didn't open their mouths nor look 
different nor interested. They squeaked through 
underneath. There was a couple of big wild- turkey- 
wing fans spread out behind those things. On the 
table in the middle of the room was a kind of a 
lovely crockery basket that had apples and oranges 
and peaches and grapes piled up in it, which was 
much redder and yellower and prettier than real 
ones is, but they warn't real because you could see 
where pieces had got chipped off and showed the 
white chalk, or whatever it was, underneath. 

This table had a cover made out of beautiful oil- 
139 



MARK TWAIN 

cloth, with a red and blue spread-eagle painted on it, 
and a painted border all around. It come all the way 
from Philadelphia, they said. There was some books, 
too, piled up perfectly exact, on each corner of the 
table. One was a big family Bible full of pictures. 
One was Pilgrim's Progress, about a man that left his 
family, it didn't say why. I read considerable in it 
now and then. The statements was interesting, but 
tough. Another was Friendship's Offering, full of 
beautiful stuff and poetry; but I didn't read the 
poetry. Another was Henry Clay's Speeches, and 
another was Dr. Gunn's Family Medicine, which told 
you all about what to do if a body was sick or dead. 
There was a hymn-book, and a lot of other books. 
And there was nice split-bottom chairs, and per- 
fectly sound, too — not bagged down in the middle 
and busted, like an old basket. 

They had pictures hung on the walls — mainly 
Washingtons and Lafayettes, and battles, and High- 
land Marys, and one called "Signing the Declara- 
tion." There was some that they called crayons, 
which one of the daughters which was dead made her 
own self when she was only fifteen years old. They 
was different from any pictures I ever see before — 
blacker, mostly, than is common. One was a woman 
in a slim black dress, belted small under the armpits, 
with bulges like a cabbage in the middle of the 
sleeves, and a large black scoop-shovel bonnet with 
a black veil, and white slim ankles crossed about 
with black tape, atid very wee black slippers, like a 
chisel, and she was leaning pensive on a tombstone 
on her right elbow, under a weeping willow, and her 

140 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

other hand hanging down her side holding a white 
handkerchief and a reticule, and underneath the 
picture it said ''Shall I Never See Thee More Alas." 
Another one was a young lady with her hair all 
combed up straight to the top of her head, and 
knotted there in front of a comb like a chair-back, and 
she was crying into a handkerchief and had a dead 
bird laying on its back in her other hand with its heels 
up, and underneath the picture it said ' ' I Shall Never 
Hear Thy Sweet Chirrup More Alas. ' ' There was one 
where a young lady was at a window looking up at the 
moon, and tears running down her cheeks; and she 
had an open letter in one hand with black sealing- 
wax showing on one edge of it, and she was mashing a 
locket with a chain to it against her mouth, and under- 
neath the picture it said "And Art Thou Gone Yes 
Thou Art Gone Alas." These was all nice pictures, I 
reckon, but I didn't somehow seem to take to them, 
because if ever I was down a little they always give 
me the fan-tods. Everybody was sorry she died, 
because she had laid out a lot more of these pictures 
to do, and a body could see by what she had done 
what they had lost. But I reckoned that with her 
disposition she was having a better time in the 
graveyard. She was at work on what they said was 
her greatest picture when she took sick, and every 
day and every night it was her prayer to be allowed 
to live till she got it done, but she never got the 
chance. It was a picture of a young woman in a long 
white gown, standing on the rail of a bridge all 
ready to jump off, with her hair all down her back, 
and looking up to the moon, with the tears running 

141 



MARK TWAIN 

down her face, and she had two arms folded across 
her breast, and two arms stretched out in front, and 
two more reaching up toward the moon — and the 
idea was to see which pair would look best, and 
then scratch out all the other arms; but, as I was 
saying, she died before she got her mind made up, 
and now they kept this picture over the head of the 
bed in her room, and every time her birthday come 
they hung flowers on it. Other times it was hid with 
a little curtain. The young woman in the picture 
had a kind of a nice sweet fg.ce, but there was so 
many arms it made her look too spidery, seemed to 
me. 

This young girl kept a scrap-book when she was 
alive, and used to paste obituaries and accidents and 
cases of patient suffering in it out of the Presbyterian 
Observer, and write poetry after them out of her own 
head. It was very good poetry. This is what she 
wrote about a boy by the name of Stephen Dowling 
Bets that fell down a well and was drownded : 

ODE TO STEPHEN DOWLING BOTS, DEC'D 

And did young Stephen sicken, 

And did young Stephen die? 
And did the sad hearts thicken, 

And did the mourners cry? 

No; such was not the fate of 

Young Stephen DowUng Bots; 
Though sad hearts round him thickenea, 

'Twas not from sickness' shots. 

No whooping-cough did rack his frame, 
Nor measles drear with spots; 
142 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

Not these impaired the sacred name 
Of Stephen DowHng Bots. 

Despised love struck not with woe 

That head of curly knots, 
Nor stomach troubles laid him low, 

Young Stephen Dowling Bots. 

O no. Then list with tearful eye, 

Whilst I his fate do tell. 
His soul did from this cold world fly 

By falling down a well. 

They got him out and emptied him; 

Alas it was too late; 
His spirit was gone for to sport aloft 

In the realms of the good and great. 



If Emmeline Grangerford could make poetry like 
that before she was fourteen, there ain't no telling 
what she could 'a' done by and by. Buck said she 
could rattle off poetry like nothing. She didn't ever 
have to stop to think. He said she would slap down 
a line, and if she couldn't find anything to rhyme 
with it would just scratch it out and slap down an- 
other one, and go ahead. She warn't particular; she 
could write about anything you choose to give her 
to write about just so it was sadful. Every time a 
man died, or a woman died, or a child died, she 
would be on hand with her "tribute" before he was 
cold. She called them tributes. The neighbors said 
it was the doctor first, then Emmeline, then the 
undertaker — the undertaker never got in ahead of 
Emmeline but once, and then she hung fire on a 
rhyme for the dead person's name, which was 

143 



MARK TWAIN 

Whistler. She warn't ever the same after that; she 
never complained, but she kinder pined away and 
did not live long. Poor thing, many's the time I 
made myself go up to the little room that used to 
be hers and get out her poor old scrap-book and 
read in it when her pictures had been aggravating 
me and I had soured on her a little. I liked all 
that family, dead ones and all, and warn't going to 
let anything come between us. Poor Emmeline 
made poetry about all the dead people when she 
was alive, and it didn't seem right that there warn't 
nobody to make some about her now she was gone; 
so I tried to sweat out a verse or two myself, but I 
couldn't seem to make it go somehow. They kept 
Emmeline 's room trim and nice, and all the things 
fixed in it just the way she liked to have them when 
she was alive, and nobody ever slept there. The 
old lady took care of the room herself, though 
there was plenty of niggers, and she sewed there a 
good deal and read her Bible there mostly. 

Well, as I was saying about the parlor, there was 
beautiful curtains on the windows: white, with 
pictures painted on them of castles with vines all 
down the walls, and cattle coming down to drink. 
There was a little old piano, too, that had tin pans 
in it, I reckon, and nothing was ever so lovely as 
to hear the young ladies sing "The Last Link is 
Broken" and play ''The Battle of Prague" on it. 
The walls of all the rooms was plastered, and most 
had carpets on the floors, and the whole house was 
whitewashed on the outside. 

It was a double house, and the big open place 
144 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

betwixt them was roofed and floored, and some- 
times the table was set there in the middle of the 
day, and it was a cool, comfortable place. Nothing 
couldn't be better. And warn't the cooking good, 
and just bushels of it too! 



CHAPTER XVIII 

COL. GRANGERFORD was a gentleman, you 
see. He was a gentleman all over; and so was 
his family. He was well born, as the saying is, and 
that's worth as much in a man as it is in a horse, so 
the Widow Douglas said, and nobody ever denied 
that she was of the first aristocracy in our town ; and 
pap he always said it, too, though he warn't no 
more quality than a mudcat himself. Col. Granger- 
ford was very tall and very slim, and had a darkish- 
paly complexion, not a sign of red in it anywheres; 
he was clean-shaved every morning all over his thin 
face, and he had the thinnest kind of lips, and the 
thinnest kind of nostrils, and a high nose, and heavy 
eyebrows, and the blackest kind of eyes, sunk so 
deep back that they seemed like they was looking 
out of caverns at you, as you may say. His forehead 
was high, and his hair was gray and straight and 
hung to his shoulders. His hands was long and thin, 
and every day of his life he put on a clean shirt and 
a full suit from head to foot made out of linen so 
white it hurt your eyes to look at it ; and on Sundays 
he wore a blue tail-coat with brass buttons on it. 
He- carried a mahogany cane with a silver head to 
it. There warn't no frivolishness about him, not a 
bit, and he warn't ever loud. He was as kind as 

146 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

he could be — you could feel that, you know, and so 
you had confidence. Sometimes he smiled, and it 
was good to see; but when he straightened himself 
up like a liberty-pole, and the lightning begun to 
flicker out from under his eyebrows, you wanted to 
climb a tree first, and find out what the matter was 
afterwards. He didn't ever have to tell anybody to 
mind their manners — everybody was always good- 
mannered where he was. Everybody loved to have 
him around, too; he was sunshine most always — I 
mean he made it seem like good weather. When he 
turned into a cloud-bank it was awful dark for half a 
minute, and that was enough; there wouldn't nothing 
go wrong again for a week. 

When him and the old lady come down in the 
morning all the family got up out of their chairs and 
give them good day, and didn't set down again till 
they had set down. Then Tom and Bob went to 
the sideboard where the decanter was, and mixed a 
glass of bitters and handed it to him, and he held it 
in his hand and waited till Tom's and Bob's was 
mixed, and then they bowed and said, "Our duty to 
you, sir, and madam"; and they bowed the least bit 
in the world and said thank you, and so they drank, 
all three, and Bob and Tom poured a spoonful of 
water on the sugar and the mite of whisky or apple- 
brandy in the bottom of their tumblers, and give it 
to me and Buck, and we drank to the old people too. 

Bob was the oldest and Tom next — tall, beautiful 
men with very broad shoulders and brown faces, and 
long black hair and black eyes. They dressed in 

147 



MARK TWAIN 

white linen from head to foot, Hke the old gentle- 
man, and wore broad Panama hats. 

Then there was Miss Charlotte; she was twenty- 
five, and tall and proud and grand, but as good as 
she could be when she warn't stirred up; but when 
she was she had a look that would make you wilt in 
your tracks, like her father. She was beautiful. 

So was her sister, Miss Sophia, but it was a different 
kind. She was gentle and sweet like a dove, and she 
was only twenty. 

Each person had their own nigger to wait on them 
— Buck too. My nigger had a monstrous easy time, 
because I warn't used to having anybody do any- 
thing for me, but Buck's was on the jump most of 
the time. 

This was all there was of the family now, but 
there used to be more — three sons; they got killed; 
and Emmeline that died. 

The old gentleman owned a lot of farms and over 
a hundred niggers. Sometimes a stack of people 
would come there, horseback, from ten or fifteen 
mile around, and stay five or six days, and have 
such junketings round about and on the river, and 
dances and picnics in the woods daytimes, and balls 
at the house nights. These people was mostly kin- 
folks of the family. The men brought their guns 
with them. It was a handsome lot of quality, I 
tell you. 

There was another clan of aristocracy around there 
— five or six families — mostly of the name of Shep- 
herdson. They was as high-toned and well born and 
rich and grarid as the tribe of Grangerfords. The 

143 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

Shepherdsons and Grangerfords used the same 
steamboat-landing, which was about two mile above 
our house; so sometimes when I went up there with 
a lot of our folks I used to see a lot of the Shepherd- 
sons there on their fine horses. 

One day Buck and me was away out in the woods 
hunting, and heard a horse coming. We was cross- 
ing the road. Buck says: 

"Quick! Jump for the woods!" 

We done it, and then peeped down the woods 
through the leaves. Pretty soon a splendid young 
man came galloping down the road, setting his 
horse easy and looking like a soldier. He had his 
gun across his pommel. I had seen him before. It 
was young Harney Shepherdson. I heard Buck's 
gun go off at my ear, and Harney's hat tumbled off 
from his head. He grabbed his gun and rode straight 
to the place where we was hid. But we didn't wait. 
We started through the woods on a run. The woods 
warn't thick, so I looked over my shoulder to dodge 
the bullet, and twice I seen Harney cover Buck with 
his gun; and then he rode away the way he come — 
to get his hat, I reckon, but I couldn't see. We 
never stopped running till we got home. The old 
gentleman's eyes blazed a minute — 'twas pleasure, 
mainly, I judged— then his face sort of smoothed 
down, and he says, kind of gentle: 

"I don't like that shooting from behind a bush. 
Why didn't you step into the road, my boy?" 

"The Shepherdsons don't, father. They always 
take advantage." 

Miss Charlotte she held her head up like a queen 
149 



MARK TWAIN 

while Buck was telling his tale, and her nostrils 
spread and her eyes snapped. The two young men 
looked dark, but never said nothing. Miss Sophia 
she turned pale, but the color come back when she 
found the man warn't hurt. 

Soon as I could get Buck down by the corn-cribs 
under the trees by ourselves, I says: 

"Did you want to kill him, Buck?" 

"Well, I bet I did." 

"What did he do to you?" 

"Him? He never done nothing to me." 

"Well, then, what did you want to kill him for?" 

"Why, nothing — only it's on account of the feud." 

"What's a feud?" 

"Why, where was you raised? Don't you know 
what a feud is?" 

"Never heard of it before — tell me about it." 

"Well," says Buck, "a feud is this way: A man 
has a quarrel with another man, and kills him; then 
that other man's brother kills him; then the other 
brothers, on both sides, goes for one another; then 
the cousins chip in — and by and by everybody's 
killed off, and there ain't no more feud. But it's 
kind of slow, and takes a long time." 

"Has this one been going on long, Buck?" 

"Well, I should reckon! It started thirty year 
ago, or som'ers along there. There was trouble 
'bout something, and then a lawsuit to settle it ; and 
the suit went agin one of the men, and so he up and 
shot the man that won the suit — which he would 
naturally do, of course. Anybody would." 

"What was the trouble about. Buck? — land?" 
ISO 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

"I reckon maybe — I don't know." 

* ' Well, who done the shooting ? Was it a Granger- 
ford or a Shepherdson?" 

"Laws, how do I know? It was so long ago." 

"Don't anybody know?" 

"Oh, yes, pa knows, I reckon, and some of the 
other old people ; but they don't know now what the 
row was about in the first place." 

"Has there been many killed. Buck?" 

"Yes; right smart chance of funerals. But they 
don't always kill. Pa's got a few buckshot in him; 
but he don't mind it 'cuz he don't weigh much, 
anyway. Bob's been carved up some with a bowie, 
and Tom's been hurt once or twice." 

"Has anybody been killed this year, Buck?" 

"Yes; we got one and they got one. 'Bout three 
months ago my cousin Bud, fourteen year old, was 
riding through the woods on t'other side of the 
river, and didn't have no weapon with him, which 
was blame' foolishness, and in a lonesome place he 
hears a horse a-coming behind him, and sees old 
Baldy Shepherdson a-linkin' after him with his gun 
in his hand and his white hair a-flying in the wind; 
and 'stead of jumping off and taking to the brush, 
Bud 'lowed he could outrun him; so they had it, 
nip and tuck, for five mile or more, the old man 
a-gaining all the time; so at last Bud seen it warn't 
any use, so he stopped and faced around so as to 
have the bullet-holes in front, you know, and the 
old man he rode up and shot him down. But he 
didn't git much chance to enjoy his luck, for inside 
of a week our folks laid him out." 
II 151 



MARK TWAIN 

"I reckon that old man was a coward, Buck." 

"I reckon he warnH a coward. Not by a blame' 
sight. There ain't a coward amongst them Shep- 
herdsons — not a one. And there ain't no cowards 
amongst the Grangerfords either. Why, that old 
man kep' up his end in a fight one day for half an 
hour against three Grangerfords, and come out 
winner. They was all a-horseback; he lit off of his 
horse and got behind a little woodpile, and kep' his 
horse before him to stop the bullets ; but the Granger- 
fords stayed on their horses and capered around 
the old man, and peppered away at him, and he 
peppered away at them. Him and his horse both 
went home pretty leaky and crippled, but the 
Grangerfords had to be fetched home — and one of 
'em was dead, and another died the next day. No, 
sir; if a body's out hunting for cowards he don't want 
to fool away any time amongst them Shepherdsons, 
becuz they don't breed any of that kind.'' 

Next Sunday we all went to church, about three 
mile, everybody a-horseback. The men took their 
guns along, so did Buck, and kept them between their 
knees or stood them handy against the wall. The 
Shepherdsons done the same. It was pretty ornery 
preaching — all about brotherly love, and such-like 
tiresomeness; but everybody said it was a good ser- 
mon, and they all talked it over going home, and had 
such a powerful lot to say about faith and good works 
and free grace and preforeordestination, and I don't 
know what all, that it did seem to me to be one of the 
roughest Sundays I had run across yet. 

About an hour after dinner everybody was dozing 
152 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

around, some in their chairs and some in their rooms, 
and it got to be pretty dull. Buck and a dog was 
stretched out on the grass in the sun sound asleep. I 
went up to our room, and judged I would take a nap 
myself. I found that sweet Miss Sophia standing in 
her door, which was next to ours, and she took me in 
her room and shut the door very soft, and asked me if 
I liked her, and I said I did; and she asked me if I 
would do something for her and not tell anybody, 
and I said I would. Then she said she'd forgot her 
Testament, and left it in the seat at church between 
two other books, and would I slip out quiet and go 
there and fetch it to her, and not say nothing to no- 
body. I said I would. So I slid out and slipped off 
up the road, and there wam't anybody at the church, 
except maybe a hog or two, for there warn't any lock 
on the door, and hogs likes a puncheon floor in sum- 
mer-time because it's cool. If you notice, most 
folks don't go to church only when they've got to; 
but a hog is different. 

Says I to myself, something's up; it ain't natural 
for a girl to be in such a sweat about a Testament. 
So I give it a shake, and out drops a little piece of 
paper with ''Half past two'' wrote on it with a pencil. 
I ransacked it, but couldn't find anything else. I 
couldn't make anything out of that, so I put the paper 
in the book again, and when I got home and up- 
stairs there was Miss Sophia in her door waiting for 
me. She pulled me in and shut the door; then she 
looked in* the Testament till she found the paper, and 
as soon as she read it she looked glad; and before a 
body could think she grabbed me and give me a 

153 



MARK TWAIN 

squeeze, and said I was the best boy in the world, 
and not to tell anybody. She was mighty red in the 
face for a minute, and her eyes lighted up, and it 
made her powerful pretty. I was a good deal as- 
tonished, but when I got my breath I asked her 
what the paper was about, and she asked me if I had 
read it, and I said no, and she asked me if I could 
read writing, and I told her "no, only coarse-hand," 
and then she said the paper warn't anything but a 
book-mark to keep her place, and I might go and 
play now. 

I went off down to the river, studying over this 
thing, and pretty soon I noticed that my nigger was 
following along behind. When we was out of sight 
of the house he looked back and around a second, and 
then comes a-running, and says: 

''Mars Jawge, if you'll come down into de swamp 
I'll show you a whole stack o' water-moccasins." 

Thinks I, that's mighty curious; he said that yes- 
terday. He oughter know a body don't love water- 
moccasins enough to go around hunting for them. 
What is he up to, anyway? So I says: 

"All right; trot ahead." 

I followed a half a mile ; then he struck out over the 
swamp, and waded ankle-deep as much as another 
half-mile. We come to a little flat piece of land 
which was dry and very thick with trees and bushes 
and vines, and he says: 

"You shove right in dah jist a few steps. Mars 
Jawge; dah's whah dey is. I's seed 'm befo'; I 
don't k'yer to see 'em no mo'." 

Then he slopped right along and went away, and 
154 



I 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

pretty soon the trees hid him. I poked into the 
place a ways and come to a Httle open patch as big as 
a bedroom all hung around with vines, and found a 
man laying there asleep — and, by jings, it was my 
old Jim! 

I waked him up, and I reckoned it was going to be 
a grand surprise to him to see me again, but it warn't. 
He nearly cried he was so glad, but he warn't sur- 
prised. Said he swum along behind me that night, 
and heard me yell every time, but dasn't answer, be- 
cause he didn't want nobody to pick him up and take 
him into slavery again. Says he: 

"I got hurt a little, en couldn't swim fas', so I wuz 
a considerable ways behine you towards de las' ; when 
you landed I reck'ned I could ketch up wid you on de 
Ian' 'dout havin' to shout at you, but when I see dat 
house I begin to go slow. I 'uz off too fur to hear 
what dey say to you — I wuz 'fraid o' de dogs; but 
when it 'uz all quiet ag'in I knowed you's in de house, 
so I struck out for de woods to wait for day. Early 
in de mawnin' some er de niggers come along, gwyne 
to de fields, en dey tuk me en showed me dis place, 
whah de dogs can't track me on accounts o' de water, 
en dey brings me truck to eat every night, en tells me 
how you's a-gittin' along." 

**Why didn't you tell my Jack to fetch me here 
sooner, Jim?" 

"Well, 'twarn't no use to 'sturb you, Huck, tell we 
could do sumfn — but we's all right now. I ben a- 
buyin' pots en pans en vittles, as I got a chanst, en a- 
patchin' up de raf nights when — " 

''What rait, Jim?" 

155 



MARK TWAIN 

"Ouroleraf." 

"You mean to say our old raft warn't smashed all 
to flinders?" 

*'No, she warn't. She was tore up a good deal — 
one en' of her was; but dey warn't no great harm 
done, on'y our traps was mos' all los'. Ef we hadn' 
dive' so deep en swum so fur under water, en de night 
hadn't ben so dark, en we warn't so sk'yerd, en ben 
sich punkin-heads, as de say in' is, we'd a seed de raf '. 
But it's jis' as well we didn't, 'kase now she's all fixed 
up ag'in mos' as good as new, en we's got a new lot 
o' stuff, in de place o' what 'uz los'." 

"Why, how did you get hold of the raft again, 
Jim — did you catch her?" 

' ' How I gwyne to ketch her en I out in de woods ? 
No; some er de niggers foun' her ketched on a snag 
along heah in de ben', en dey hid her in a crick 
'mongst de willows, en dey wuz so much jawin' 'bout 
which un 'um she b'long to de mos' dat I come to 
heah 'bout it pooty soon, so I ups en settles de 
trouble by tellin' 'um she don't b'long to none uv 
'um, but to you en me; en I ast 'm if dey gwyne to 
grab a young white genlman's propaty, en git a 
hid'n for it? Den I gin 'm ten cents apiece, en dey 
'uz mighty well satisfied, en wisht some mo' raf's 
'ud come along en make 'm rich ag'in. Dey's mighty 
good to me, dese niggers is, en whatever I wants 'm 
to do fur me I doan' have to ast 'm twice, honey. 
Dat Jack's a good nigger, en pooty smart." 

"Yes, he is. He ain't ever told me you was here; 
told me to come, and he'd show me a lot of water- 
moccasins. If anything happens he ain't mixed up 

156 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

in it. He can say he never seen us together, and 
it '11 be the truth." 

I don't want to talk much about the next day. I 
reckon I'll cut it pretty short. I waked up about 
dawn, and was a-going to turn over and go to 
sleep again when I noticed how still it was — didn't 
seem to be anybody stirring. That warn't usual. 
Next I noticed that Buck was up and gone. Well, 
I gets up, a- wondering, and goes down - stairs^ 
nobody around ; everything as still as a mouse. Just 
the same outside. Thinks I, what does it mean? 
Down by the woodpile I comes across my Jack, 
and says: 

"What's it all about?" 

Says he : 

''Don't you know. Mars Jawge?" 

"No," says I, "I don't." 

"Well, den. Miss Sophia's run off! 'deed she has. 
She run off in de night some time — nobody don't 
know jis' when ; run off to get married to dat young 
Harney Shepherdson, you know — leastways, so dey 
'spec. De fambly foun' it out 'bout half an hour 
ago — maybe a little mo' — en' I tell you dey warn't 
no time los'. Sich another hurry in' up guns en 
bosses you never see ! De women folks has gone for 
to stir up de relations, en ole Mars Saul en de boys 
tuck dey guns en rode up de river road for to try 
to ketch dat young man en kill him 'fo' he kin git 
acrost de river wid Miss Sophia. I reck'n dey's 
gwyne to be mighty rough times." 

"Buck went off 'thout waking me up." 

"Well, I reck'n he did! Dey warn't gwyne to 
157 



MARK TWAIN 

mix you up in it. Mars Buck he loaded up his 
gun en 'lowed he's gwyne to fetch home a Shepherd- 
son or bust. Well, dey'll be plenty un 'm dah, I 
reck'n, en you bet you he'll fetch one ef he gits a 
chanst." 

I took up the river road as hard as I could put. 
By and by I begin to hear guns a good ways off. 
When I came in sight of the log store and the wood- 
pile where the steamboats lands I worked along 
under the trees and brush till I got to a good place, 
and then I dumb up into the forks of a cottonwood 
that was out of reach, and watched. There was a 
wood-rank four foot high a little ways in front of 
the tree, and first I was going to hide behind that; 
but maybe it was luckier I didn't. 

There was four or five men cavorting around on 
their horses in the open place before the log store, 
cussing and yelling, and trying to get at a couple of 
young chaps that was behind the wood-rank along- 
side of the steamboat-landing; but they couldn't 
come it. Every time one of them showed himself 
on the river side of the woodpile he got shot at. 
The two boys was squatting back to back behind the 
pile, so they could watch both ways. 

By and by the men stopped cavorting around 
and yelling. They started riding towards the 
store; then up gets one of the boys, draws a steady 
bead over the wood-rank, and drops one of them 
out of his saddle. All the men jumped off of their 
horses and grabbed the hurt one and started to carry 
him to the store; and that minute the two boys 
started on the run. They got half-way to the tree 

158 



I 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

I was in before the men noticed. Then the men see 
them, and jumped on their horses and took out 
after them. They gained on the boys, but it didn't 
do no good, the boys had too good a start; they got 
to the woodpile that was in front of my tree, and 
sHpped in behind it, and so they had the bulge on 
the men again. One of the boys was Buck, and the 
other was a slim young chap about nineteen years old. 

The men ripped around awhile, and then rode 
away. As soon as they was out of sight I sung out 
to Buck and told him. He didn't know what to 
make of my voice coming out of the tree at first. 
He was awful surprised. He told me to watch out 
sharp and let him know when the men come in sight 
again; said they was up to some devilment or other 
— ^wouldn't be gone long. I wished I was out of 
that tree, but I dasn't come down. Buck begun to 
cry and rip, and 'lowed that him and his cousin Joe 
(that was the other young chap) would make up for 
this day yet. He said his father and his two brothers 
was killed, and two or three of the enemy. Said the 
Shepherdsons laid for them in ambush. Buck said 
his father and brothers ought to waited for their 
relations — the Shepherdsons was too strong for 
them. I asked him what was become of young 
Harney and Miss Sophia. He said they'd got across 
the river and was safe. I was glad of that; but the 
way Buck did take on because he didn't manage to 
kill Harney that day he shot at him — I hain't ever 
heard anything like it. 

All of a sudden, bang! bang! bang! goes three 
or four guns — the men had slipped around through 

159 



MARK TWAIN 

the woods and come in from behind without their 
horses! The boys jumped for the river — both of 
them hurt — and as they swum down the current the 
men run along the bank shooting at them and singing 
out, "Kill them, kill them!" It made me so sick I 
most fell out of the tree. I ain't a-going to tell all 
that happened — it would make me sick again if I 
was to do that. I wished I hadn't ever come ashore 
that night to see such things. I ain't ever going to 
get shut of them — lots of times I dream about them. 

I stayed in the tree till it begun to get dark, afraid 
to come down. Sometimes I heard guns away off 
in the woods; and twice I seen little gangs of men 
gallop past the log store with guns; so I reckoned 
the trouble was still a-going on. I was mighty down- 
hearted; so I made up my mind I wouldn't ever go 
anear that house again, because I reckoned I was to 
blame, somehow. I judged that that piece of paper 
meant that Miss Sophia was to meet Harney some- 
wheres at half past two and run off; and I judged 
I ought to told her father about that paper and the 
curious way she acted, and then maybe he would 'a' 
locked her up, and this awful mess wouldn't ever 
happened. 

When I got down out of the tree I crept along 
down the river-bank a piece, and found the two 
bodies laying in the edge of the water, and tugged 
at them till I got them ashore; then I covered up 
their faces, and got away as quick as I could. I cried 
a little when I was covering up Buck's face, for he 
was mighty good to me. 

It was just dark now. I never went near the 
160 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

house, but struck through the woods and made for 
the swamp. Jim warn't on his island, so I tramped 
off in a hurry for the crick, and crowded through the 
willows, red-hot to jump aboard and get out of that 
awful country. The raft was gone! My souls, but 
I was scared! I couldn't get my breath for most a 
minute. Then I raised a yell. A voice not twenty- 
five foot from me says: 

"Good Ian'! is dat you, honey? Doan' make no 
noise." 

It was Jim's voice — nothing ever sounded so good 
before. I run along the bank a piece and got aboard, 
and Jim he grabbed me and hugged me, he was so 
glad to see me. He says: 

"Laws bless you, chile, I 'uz right down sho' 
you's dead ag'in. Jack's been heah ; he say he reck'n 
you's ben shot, kase you didn' come home no mo'; 
so I's jes' dis minute a-startin' de raf down towards 
de mouf er de crick, so's to be all ready for to shove 
out en leave soon as Jack comes ag'in en tells me 
for certain you is dead. Lawsy, I's mighty glad 
to git you back ag'in, honey." 

I says: 

"All right — that's mighty good; they won't find 
me, and they'll think I've been killed, and floated 
down the river — there's something up there that '11 
help them think so — so don't you lose no time, Jim, 
but just shove off for the big water as fast as ever 
you can." 

I never felt easy till the raft was two mile below 
there and out in the middle of the Mississippi. Then 
we hung up our signal lantern, and judged that we 

i6i 



MARK TWAIN 

was free and safe once more. I hadn't had a bite 
to eat since yesterday, so Jim he got out some corn- 
dodgers and buttermilk, and pork and cabbage and 
greens — there ain't nothing in the world so good 
when it's cooked right — and whilst I eat my supper 
we talked and had a good time. I was powerful glad 
to get away from the feuds, and co was Jim to get 
away from the swamp. We said there warn't no 
home like a raft, after all. Other places do seem so 
cramped up and smothery, but a raft don't. You 
feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft. 



CHAPTER XIX 

TWO or three days and nights went by; I reckon 
I might say they swum by, they sHd along so 
quiet and smooth and lovely. Here is the way we 
put in the time. It was a monstrous big river down 
there — sometimes a mile and a half wide; we run 
nights, and laid up and hid daytimes; soon as night 
was most gone we stopped navigating and tied up — 
nearly always in the dead water under a towhead; 
and then cut young cotton woods and willows, and 
hid the raft with them. Then we set out the lines. 
Next we slid into the river and had a swim, so as to 
freshen up and cool off; then we set down on the 
sandy bottom where the water was about knee-deep, 
and watched the daylight come. Not a sound any- 
wheres — perfectly still — just like the whole world 
was asleep, only sometimes the bullfrogs a-cluttering, 
maybe. The first thing to see, looking away over 
the water, was a kind of dull line — that was the 
woods on t'other side; you couldn't make nothing 
else out ; then a pale place in the sky ; then more pale- 
ness spreading around; then the river softened up 
away off, and warn't black any more, but gray; you 
could see little dark spots drifting along ever so far 
away — trading - scows, and such things; and long 
black streaks — rafts; sometimes you could hear a 

163 



MARK TWAIN 

sweep screaking; or jumbled -up voices, it was so 
still, and sounds come so far; and by and by you 
could see a streak on the water which you know by 
the look of the streak that there's a snag there in 
a swift current which breaks on it and makes that 
streak look that way; and you see the mist curl up 
off of the water, and the east reddens up, and the 
river, and you make out a log cabin in the edge of 
the woods, away on the bank on t 'ether side of the 
river, being a wood-yard, likely, and piled by them 
cheats so you can throw a dog through it anywheres ; 
then the nice breeze springs up, and comes fanning 
you from over there, so cool and fresh and sweet to 
smell on account of the woods and the flowers; but 
sometimes not that way, because they've left dead 
fish laying around, gars and such, and they do get 
pretty rank; and next you've got the full day, and 
everything smiling in the sun, and the song-birds 
just going it! 

A little smoke couldn't be noticed now, so we would 
take some fish off of the lines and cook up a hot break- 
fast. And afterwards we would watch the lonesome- 
ness of the river, and kind of lazy along, and by and 
by lazy off to sleep. Wake up by and by, and look to 
see what done it, and maybe see a steamboat cough- 
ing along up-stream, so far off towards the other side 
you couldn't tell nothing about her only whether she 
was a stern- wheel or side- wheel; then for about an 
hour there wouldn't be nothing to hear nor nothing 
to see — just solid lonesomeness. Next you'd see a 
raft sliding by, away off yonder, and maybe a galoot 
on it chopping, because they're most always doing 

164 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

it on a raft; you'd see the ax flash and come down — 
you don't hear nothing; you see that ax go up again, 
and by the time it's above the man's head then you 
hear the k' chunk! — it had took all that time to come 
over the water. So we would put in the day, lazying 
around, listening to the stillness. Once there was a 
thick fog, and the rafts and things that went by was 
beating tin pans so the steamboats wouldn't run 
over them. A scow or a raft went by so close we 
could hear them talking and cussing and laughing — 
heard them plain; but we couldn't see no sign of 
them; it made you feel crawly; it was like spirits 
carrying on that way in the air. Jim said he believed 
it was spirits; but I says: 

"No; spirits wouldn't say, 'Dern the dern fog.'" 
Soon as it was night out we shoved; when we got 
her out to about the middle we let her alone, and let 
her float wherever the current wanted her to; then 
we lit the pipes, and dangled our legs in the water, 
and talked about all kinds of things — we was always 
naked, day and night, whenever the mosquitoes 
would let us — the new clothes Buck's folks made for 
me was too good to be comfortable, and besides I 
didn't go much on clothes, nohow. 

Sometimes we'd have that whole river all to our- 
selves for the longest time. Yonder was the banks 
and the islands, across the water; and maybe a 
spark — which was a candle in a cabin window; and 
sometimes on the water you could see a spark or 
two— on a raft or a scow, you know ; and maybe you 
could hear a fiddle or a song coming over from one of 
them crafts. It's lovely to live on a raft. We had 

165 



MARK TWAIN 

the sky up there, all speckled with stars, and we used 
to lay on our backs and look up at them, and discuss 
about whether they was made or only just happened. 
Jim he allowed they was made, but I allowed they 
happened; I judged it would have took too long to 
make so many. Jim said the moon could 'a' laid them ; 
well,- that looked kind of reasonable, so I didn't say 
nothing against it, because I've seen a frog lay most 
as many, so of course it could be done. We used to 
watch the stars that fell, too, and see them streak 
down. Jim allowed they'd got spoiled and was hove 
out of the nest. 

Once or twice of a night we would see a steamboat 
slipping along in the dark, and now and then she 
would belch a whole world of sparks up out of her 
chimbleys, and they would rain down in the river 
and look awful pretty ; then she would turn a corner 
and her lights would wink out and her powwow shut 
off and leave the river still again ; and by and by her 
waves would get to us, a long time after she was gone, 
and joggle the raft a bit, and after that you wouldn't 
hear nothing for you couldn't tell how long, except 
maybe frogs or something. 

After midnight the people on shore went to bed, 
and then for two or three hours the shores was black 
— no more sparks in the cabin windows. These 
sparks was our clock — the first one that showed 
again meant morning was coming, so we himted a 
place to hide and tie up right away. 

One morning about daybreak I found a canoe and 
crossed over a chute to the main shore — it was only 
two hundred yards — and paddled about a mile up a 

i66 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

crick amongst the cypress woods, to see if I couldn't 
get some berries. Just as I was passing a place where 
a kind of a cowpath crossed the crick, here comes a 
couple of men tearing up the path as tight as they 
could foot it. I thought I was a goner, for whenever 
anybody was after anybody I judged it was me — or 
maybe Jim. I was about to dig out from there in a 
hurry, but they was pretty close to me then, and sung 
out and begged me to save their lives — said they 
hadn't been doing nothing, and was being chased for 
it — said there was men and dogs a-coming. They 
wanted to jump right in, but I says: 

Don't you do it. I don't hear the dogs and horses 
yet ; you've got time to crowd through the brush and 
get up the crick a little ways; then you take to the 
water and wade down to me and get in — that '11 throw 
the dogs off the scent." 

They done it, and soon as they was aboard I lit 
out for our towhead, and in about five or ten min- 
utes we heard the dogs and the men away off, 
shouting. We heard them come along towards the 
crick, but couldn't see them; they seemed to stop 
and fool around awhile; then, as we got further and 
further away all the time, we couldn't hardly hear 
them at all ; by the time we had left a mile of woods 
behind us and struck the river, everything was quiet, 
and we paddled over to the towhead and hid in the 
cotton woods and was safe. 

One of these fellows was about seventy or up- 
wards, and had a bald head and very gray whiskers. 
He had an old battered-up slouch hat on, and a 
greasy blue woolen shirt, and ragged old blue jeans 
12 167 



MARK TWAIN 

britches stuffed into his boot-tops, and home-knit 
galluses — no, he only had one. He had an old long- 
tailed blue jeans coat with slick brass buttons flung 
over his arm, and both of them had big, fat, ratty- 
looking carpet-bags. 

The other fellow was about thirty, and dressed 
about as ornery. After breakfast we all laid off and 
talked, and the first thing that come out was that 
these chaps didn't know one another. 

"What got you into trouble?" says the baldhead 
to t'other chap. 

"Well, I'd been selling an article to take the 
tartar off the teeth — and it does take it off, too, and 
generly the enamel along with it — but I stayed about 
one night longer than I ought to, and was just in the 
act of sliding out when I ran across you on the trail 
this side of town, and you told me they were coming, 
and begged me to help you to get off. So I told you 
I was expecting trouble myself, and would scatter 
out with you. That's the whole yarn — what's 
yourn?" 

"Well, I'd ben a-runnin' a little temperance 
revival thar 'bout a week, and was the pet of the 
women folks, big and little, for I was makin' it 
mighty warm for the rummies, I tell you, and takin' 
as much as five or six dollars a night — ten cents 
a head, children and niggers free — and business 
a-growin' all the time, when somehow or another a 
little report got around last night that I had a way 
of puttin' in my time with a private jug on the sly. 
A nigger rousted me out this mornin', and told me 
the people was getherin' on the quiet with their dogs 

i68 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

and horses, and they'd be along pretty soon and give 
me 'bout half an hour's start, and then run me down 
if they could; and if they got me they'd tar and 
feather me and ride me on a rail, sure. I didn't 
wait for no breakfast — I warn't hungry." 

**01d man," said the young one, "I reckon we 
might double-team it together; what do you think?'* 

* ' I ain't undisposed. What's your line — mainly ?'* 

**Jour printer by trade; do a little in patent 
medicines; theater-actor — tragedy, you know; take 
a turn to mesmerism and phrenology when there's 
a chance; teach singing-geography school for a 
change; sling a lecture sometimes — oh, I do lots of 
things — most anything that comes handy, so it ain't 
work. What's your lay?" 

'Tve done considerble in the doctoring way in 
my time. Lay in' on o' hands is my best holt — for 
cancer and paralysis, and sich things; and I k'n tell 
a fortune pretty good when I've got somebody along 
to find out the facts for me. Preachin's my line, 
too, and workin' camp-meetin's, and missionaryin' 
around." 

Nobody never said anything for a while; then the 
young man hove a sigh and says: 

"Alas!" 

"What 're you alassin' about?" says the baldhead. 

"To think I should have lived to be leading such 
a life, and be degraded down into such company." 
And he begun to wipe the corner of his eye with 
a rag. 

"Dern your skin, ain't the company good enough 
for you?" says the baldhead, pretty pert and uppish. 

169 



MARK TWAIN 

"Yes, it is good enough for me; it's as good as I 
deserve; for who fetched me so low when I was so 
high? I did myself. I don't blame you, gentlemen 
— ^far from it; I don't blame anybody. I deserve it 
all. Let the cold world do its worst; one thing I 
know — there's a grave somewhere for me. The 
world may go on just as it's always done, and take 
everything from me — loved ones, property, every- 
thing; but it can't take that. Some day I'll lie down 
in it and forget it all, and my poor broken heart 
will be at rest." He went on a- wiping. 

"Drot your pore broken heart," says the bald- 
head ; ' * what are you heaving your pore broken heart 
at us f'r? We hain't done nothing." 

"No, I know you haven't. I ain't blaming you, 
gentlemen. I brought myself down — yes, I did it 
myself. It's right I should suffer — perfectly right — 
I don't make any moan." 

"Brought you down from whar? Whar was you 
brought down from?" 

"Ah, you would not believe me; the world never 
believes — let it pass — 'tis no matter. The secret of 
my birth — " 

* ' The secret of your birth ! Do you mean to say — '* 

"Gentlemen," says the young man, very solemn, 
"I will reveal it to you, for I feel I may have con- 
fidence in you. By rights I am a duke!" 

Jim's eyes bugged out when he heard that; and I 
reckon mine did, too. Then the baldhead says: 
"No! you can't mean it?" 

"Yes. My great-grandfather, eldest son of the 
Duke of Bridgewater, fled to this country about the 

170 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

end of the last century, to breathe the pure air of 
freedom; married here, and died, leaving a son, his 
own father dying about the same time. The second 
son of the late duke seized the titles and estates — 
the infant real duke was ignored. I am the lineal 
descendant of that infant — I am the rightful Duke of 
Bridgewater; and here am I, forlorn, torn from my 
high estate, hunted of men, despised by the cold 
world, ragged, worn, heartbroken, and degraded to 
the companionship of felons on a raft!" 

Jim pitied him ever so much, and so did I. We 
tried to comfort him, but he said it warn't much use, 
he couldn't be much comforted; said if we was a 
mind to acknowledge him, that would do him more 
good than most anything else; so we said we would, 
if he would tell us how. He said we ought to bow 
when we spoke to him, and say "Your Grace," or 
"My Lord," or "Your Lordship" — and he wouldn't 
mind it if we called him plain "Bridgewater," which, 
he said, was a title anyway, and not a name; and one 
of us ought to wait on him at dinner, and do any 
little thing for him he wanted done. 

Well, that was all easy, so we done it. All through 
dinner Jim stood around and waited on him, and 
says, "Will yo' Grace have some o' dis or some o' 
dat?" and so on, and a body could see it was mighty 
pleasing to him. 

But the old man got pretty silent by and by — 
didn't have much to say, and didn't look pretty com- 
fortable over all that petting that was going on 
around that duke. He seemed to have something 
on his mind. So, along in the afternoon, he says: 

171 



MARK TWAIN 

"Looky here, Bilgewater," he says, "I'm nation 
sorry for you, but you ain't the only person that's 
had troubles like that." 

"No?" 

"No, you ain't. You ain't the only person that's 
ben snaked down wrongfully out'n a high place." 

"Alas!" 

"No, you ain't the only person that's had a 
secret of his birth." And, by jings, he begins to 
cry. 

' ' Hold ! What do you mean ?" 

"Bilgewater, kin I trust you?" says the old man, 
still sort of sobbing. 

"To the bitter death!" He took the old man by 
the hand and squeezed it, and says, "That secret 
of your being: speak!" 

"Bilgewater, I am the late Dauphin!" 

You bet you, Jim and me stared this time. Then 
the duke says: 

"You are what?" 

"Yes, my friend, it is too true — your eyes is 
lookin' at this very moment on the pore disappeared 
Dauphin, Looy the Seventeen, son of Looy the 
Sixteen and Marry Antonette." 

"You! At your age! No! You mean you're 
the late Charlemagne; you must be six or seven 
hundred years old, at the very least." 

"Trouble has done it, Bilgewater, trouble has done 
it ; trouble has brung these gray hairs and this prema- 
ture balditude. Yes, gentlemen, you see before you, 
in blue jeans and misery, the wanderin', exiled, 
trampled-on, and sufferin' rightful King of France." 

172 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

Well, he cried and took on so that me and Jim 
didn't know hardly what to do, we was so sorry — 
and so glad and proud we'd got him with us, too. 
So we set in, like we done before with the duke, and 
tried to comfort him. But he said it warn't no use, 
nothing but to be dead and done with it all could 
do him any good; though he said it often made him 
feel easier and better for a while if people treated him 
according to his rights, and got down on one knee 
to speak to him, and always called him ''Your 
Majesty," and waited on him first at meals, and 
didn't set down in his presence till he asked them. 
So Jim and me set to majestying him, and doing this 
and that and t'other for him, and standing up till 
he told us we might set down. This done him heaps 
of good, and so he got cheerful and comfortable. 
But the duke kind of soured on him, and didn't look 
a bit satisfied with the way things was going; still, 
the king acted real friendly towards him, and said 
the duke's great-grandfather and all the other Dukes 
of Bilge water was a good deal thought of by his 
father, and was allowed to come to the palace con- 
siderable; but the duke stayed huffy a good while, 
till by and by the king says : 

' ' Like as not we got to be together a blamed long 
time on this h-yer raft, Bilgewater, and so what's 
the use o' your bein' sour? It '11 only make things 
oncomfortable. It ain't my fault I warn't bom a 
duke, it ain't your fault you warn't born a king — so 
what's the use to worry? Make the best o' things 
the way you find *em, says I — that's my motto. 
This ain't no bad thing that we've struck here — 

173 



MARK TWAIN 

plenty grub and an easy life — come, give us your 
hand, duke, and le's all be friends." 

The duke done it, and Jim and me was pretty glad 
to see it. It took away all the uncomfortableness 
and we felt mighty good over it, because it would 'a' 
been a miserable business to have any unfriendliness 
on the raft; for what you want, above all things, on 
a raft, is for everybody to be satisfied, and feel right 
and kind towards the others. 

It didn't take me long to make up my mind that 
these liars warn't no kings nor dukes at all, but just 
low-down humbugs and frauds. But I never said 
nothing, never let on; kept it to myself; it's the best 
way; then you don't have no quarrels, and don't get 
into no trouble. If they wanted us to call them 
kings and dukes, I hadn't no objections, 'long as it 
would keep peace in the family; and it warn't no 
use to tell Jim, so I didn't tell him. If I never 
learnt nothing else out of pap, I learnt that the best 
way to get along with his kind of people is to let 
them have their own way. 



CHAPTER XX 

THEY asked us considerable many questions; 
wanted to know what we covered up the raft 
that way for, and laid by in the daytime instead of 
running — was Jim a runaway nigger? Says I: 

"Goodness sakes! would a runaway nigger run 
south?'' 

No, they allowed he wouldn't. I had to account 
for things some way, so I says : 

"My folks was living in Pike County, in Missouri, 
where I was born, and they all died off but me and pa 
and my brother Ike. Pa, he 'lowed he'd break up 
and go down and live with Uncle Ben, who's got a 
little one-horse place on the river forty-four mile 
below Orleans. Pa was pretty poor, and had some 
debts; so when he'd squared up there warn't nothing 
left but sixteen dollars and our nigger, Jim. That 
warn't enough to take us fourteen hundred mile, deck 
passage nor no other way. Well, when the river rose 
pa had a streak of luck one day ; he ketched this piece 
of a raft ; so we reckoned we'd go down to Orleans on 
it. Pa's luck didn't hold out; a steamboat run over 
the forrard comer of the raft one night, and we all 
went overboard and dove under the wheel ; Jim and 
me come up all right, but pa was drunk, and Ike was 
only four years old, so they never come up no more. 

175 



MARK TWAIN 

Well, for the next day or two we had considerable 
trouble, because people was always coming out in 
skiffs and trying to take Jim away from me, saying 
they believed he was a runaway nigger. We don't 
run daytimes no more now; nights they don't bother 
us." 

The duke says: 

"Leave me alone to cipher out a way so we can 
run in the daytime if we want to. I'll think the thing 
over — I'll invent a plan that '11 fix it. We'll let it 
alone for to-day, because of course we don't want to 
go by that town yonder in daylight — it mightn't be 
healthy." 

Towards night it begun to darken up and look like 
rain; the heat-lightning was squirting around low 
down in the sky, and the leaves was beginning to 
shiver — it was going to be pretty ugly, it was easy 
to see that. So the duke and the king went to over- 
hauling our wigwam, to see what the beds was like. 
My bed was a straw tick — better than Jim's, which 
was a corn-shuck tick; there's always cobs around 
about in a shuck tick, and they poke into you and 
hurt; and when you roll over the dry shucks sound 
like you was rolling over in a pile of dead leaves ; it 
makes such a rustling that you wake up. Well, the 
duke allowed he would take my bed; but the king 
allowed he wouldn't. He says: 

"I should 'a' reckoned the difference in rank would 
a sejested to you that a corn-shuck bed warn't just 
fitten for me to sleep on. Your Grace '11 take the 
shuck bed yourself." 

Jim and me was in a sweat again for a minute, 
176 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

being afraid there was going to be some more trouble 
amongst them ; so we was pretty glad when the duke 
says: 

*"Tis my fate to be always ground into the mire 
under the iron heel of oppression. Misfortune has 
broken my once haughty spirit; I yield, I submit; 
'tis my fate. I am alone in the world — let me suffer; 
I can bear it." 

We got away as soon as it was good and dark. The 
king told us to stand well out towards the middle of 
the river, and not show a light till we got a long ways 
below the town. We come in sight of the little bunch 
of lights by and by — that was the town, you know — 
and slid by, about a half a mile out, all right. When 
we was three-quarters of a mile below we hoisted up 
our signal lantern; and about ten o'clock it come on 
to rain and blow and thunder and lighten like every- 
thing ; so the king told us to both stay on watch till 
the weather got better; then him and the duke 
crawled into the wigwam and turned in for the night. 
It was my watch below till twelve, but I wouldn't 
'a' turned in anyway if I'd had a bed, because a body 
don't see such a storm as that every day in the week, 
not by a long sight. My souls, how the wind did 
scream along! And every second or two there 'd 
come a glare that lit up the white-caps for a half a 
mile around, and you'd see the islands looking dusty 
through the rain, and the trees thrashing around in 
the wind ; then comes a h-whack! — bum ! bum ! bum- 
ble-umble-um-bum-bum-bum-bum — and the thunder 
would go rumbling and grumbling away, and quit— 
and then rip comes another flash and another sock- 

177 



MARK TWAIN 

dolager. The waves most washed me off the raft 
sometimes, but I hadn't any clothes on, and didn't 
mind. We didn't have no trouble about snags; the 
lightning was glaring and flittering around so con- 
stant that we could see them plenty soon enough to 
throw her head this way or that and miss them. 

I had the middle watch, you know, but I was pretty 
sleepy by that time, so Jim he said he would stand 
the first half of it for me ; he was always mighty good 
that way, Jim was. I crawled into the wigwam, but 
the king and the duke had their legs sprawled around 
so there warn't no show for me; so I laid outside — I 
didn't mind the rain, because it was warm, and the 
waves warn't running so high now. About two they 
come up again, though, and Jim was going to call me; 
but he changed his mind, because he reckoned they 
warn't high enough yet to do any harm; but he was 
mistaken about that, for pretty soon all of a sudden 
along comes a regular ripper and washed me over- 
board. It most killed Jim a-laughing. He was the 
easiest nigger to laugh that ever was, anyway. 

I took the watch , and Jim he laid down and snored 
away; and by and by the storm let up for good and 
all; and the first cabin-light that showed I rousted 
him out, and we slid the raft into hiding-quarters for 
the day. 

The king got out an old ratty deck of cards after 
breakfast, and him and the duke played seven-up 
awhile, five cents a game. Then they got tired of it, 
and allowed they would **la,y out a campaign,' as 
they called it. The duke went down into his carpet- 
bag, and fetched up a lot of little printed bills and 

178 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

read them out loud. One bill said, "The celebrated 
Dr. Armand de Montalban, of Paris," would "lecture 
on the Science of Phrenology" at such and such a 
place, on the blank day of blank, at ten cents admis- 
sion, and "furnish charts of character at twenty-five 
cents apiece." The duke said that was him. In an- 
other bill he was the * ' world-renowned Shakespearian 
tragedian, Garrick the Younger, of Drury Lane, Lon- 
don." In other bills he had a lot of other names 
and done other wonderful things, like finding water 
and gold with a "divining-rod," "dissipating witch 
spells," and so on. By and by he says: 

"But the histrionic muse is the darling. Have you 
ever trod the boards, Royalty?" 

"No," says the king. 

"You shall, then, before you're three days older, 
Fallen Grandeur," says the duke. "The first good 
town we come to we'll hire a hall and do the sword- 
fight in 'Richard IH.' and the balcony scene in 'Ro- 
meo and Juliet.' How does that strike you?" 

"I'm in, up to the hub, for anything that will pay, 
Bilgewater ; but, you see, I don't know nothing about 
play-actin', and hain't ever seen much of it. I was 
too small when pap used to have 'em at the palace. 
Do you reckon you can learn me?" 

"Easy!" 

"All right. I'm jist a-freezin' for something fresh, 
anyway. Le's commence right away." 

So the duke he told him all about who Romeo was 
and who Juliet was, and said he was used to being 
Romeo, so the king could be Juliet. 

"But if Juliet's such a young gal, duke, my peeled 
179 



MARK TWAIN 

head and my white whiskers is goin' to look oncom- 
mon odd on her, maybe." 

"No, don't you worry; these country jakes won't 
ever think of that. Besides, yon know, you'll be in 
costume, and that makes all the difference in the 
world; Juliet's in a balcony, enjoying the moonlight 
before she goes to bed, and she's got on her night- 
gown and her ruffled nightcap. Here are the cos- 
tumes for the parts." 

He got out two or three curtain-calico suits, which 
he said was meedyevil armor for Richard IH. and 
t'other chap, and a long white cotton nightshirt and a 
ruffled nightcap to match. The king was satisfied ; so 
the duke got out his book and read the parts over in 
the most splendid spread-eagle way, prancing around 
and acting at the same time, to show how it had got 
to be done; then he give the book to the king and 
told him to get his part by heart. 

There was a little one-horse town about three mile 
down the bend, and after dinner the duke said he had j 
ciphered out his idea about how to run in daylight j 
without it being dangersome for Jim; so he allowed! 
he would go down to the town and fix that thing. 
The king allowed he would go, too, and see if hei 
couldn't strike something. We was out of coffee, sol 
Jim said I better go along with them in the canoe and 
get some. 

When we got there there wam't nobody stirring y 
streets empty, and perfectly dead and still, like Sun- 
day. We found a sick nigger sunning himself in a 
back yard, and he said everybody that warn't too 
young or too sick or too old was gone to camp-, 

i8o 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

meeting, about two mile back in the woods. The king 
got the directions, and allowed he'd go and work that 
camp-meeting for all it was worth, and I might go, too. 

The duke said what he was after was a printing- 
office. We found it ; a little bit of a concern, up over 
a carpenter-shop — carpenters and printers all gone to 
the meeting, and no doors locked. It was a dirty, 
littered-up place, and had ink-marks, and handbills 
with pictures of horses and runaway niggers on them, 
all over the walls. The duke shed his coat and said 
he was all right now. So me and the king lit out for 
the camp-meeting. 

We got there in about a half an hour fairly drip- 
ping, for it was a most awful hot day. There was as 
much as a thousand people there from twenty mile 
around. The woods was full of teams and wagons, 
hitched every wheres, feeding out of the wagon- 
troughs and stomping to keep off the flies. There was 
sheds made out of poles and roofed over with 
branches, where they had lemonade and gingerbread 
to sell, and piles of watermelons and green corn and 
such-like truck. 

The preaching was going on under the same kinds 
of sheds, only they was bigger and held crowds of 
people. The benches was made out of outside slabs 
of logs, with holes bored in the round side to drive 
sticks into for legs. They didn't have no backs. 
The preachers had high platforms to stand on at one 
end of the sheds. The women had on sun-bonnets; 
and some had linsey-woolsey frocks, some gingham 
ones, and a few of the young ones had on calico. 
Some of the young men was barefooted, and some of 



MARK TWAIN 

the children didn't have on any clothes but just a 
tow-linen shirt. Some of the old women was knitting, 
and some of the young folks was courting on the sly. 

The first shed we come to the preacher was lining 
out a hymn. He lined out two lines, everybody sung 
it, and it was kind of grand to hear it, there was so 
many of them and they done it in such a rousing way ; 
then he lined out two more for them to sing — and so 
on. The people woke up more and more, and sung 
louder and louder ; and towards the end some begun 
to groan, and some begun to shout. Then the 
preacher begun to preach, and begun in earnest, too; 
and went weaving first to one side of the platform and 
then the other, and then a-leaning down over the 
front of it, with his arms and his body going all the 
time, and shouting his words out with all his might ; 
and every now and then he would hold up his Bible 
and spread it open, and kind of pass it around this 
way and that, shouting, "It's the brazen serpent in 
the wilderness ! Look upon it and live !" And people 
would shout out, "Glory! — A-Si-men!'' And so he 
went on, and the people groaning and crying and 
saying amen: 

"Oh, come to the mourners' bench! come, black 
with sin! (amen!) come, sick and sore! (amen!) 
come, lame and halt and blind! (amen!) come, pore 
and needy, sunk in shame! {a-a-men!) come, all 
that's worn and soiled and suffering! — come with a 
broken spirit! come with a contrite heart! come in 
your rags and sin and dirt ! the waters that cleanse is 
free, the door of heaven stands open — oh, enter in 
and be at rest!" (a-a-men! glory, glory hallelujah!) 

182 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

And so on. You couldn't make out what the 
preacher said any more, on account of the shouting 
and crying. Folks got up everywheres in the crowd, 
and worked their way just by main strength to the 
mourners' bench, with the tears running down their 
faces ; and when all the mourners had got up there to 
the front benches in a crowd, they sung and shouted 
and flung themselves down on the straw, just crazy 
and wild. 

Well, the first I knowed the king got a-going, and 
you could hear him over everybody; and next he 
went a -charging up onto the platform, and the 
preacher he begged him to speak to the people, and 
he done it. He told them he was a pirate — been a 
pirate for thirty years out in the Indian Ocean — and 
his crew was thinned out considerable last spring in a 
fight, and he was home now to take out some fresh 
men, and thanks to goodness he'd been robbed last 
night and put ashore off of a steamboat without a 
cent, and he was glad of it; it was the blessedest 
thing that ever happened to him, because he was a 
changed man now, and happy for the first time in his 
life; and, poor as he was, he was going to start right 
off and work his way back to the Indian Ocean, and 
put in the rest of his life trying to turn the pirates 
into the true path; for he could do it better than 
anybody else, being acquainted with all pirate crews 
in that ocean; and though it would take him a long 
time to get there without money, he would get there 
anyway, and every time he convinced a pirate he 
would say to him, "Don't you thank me, don't you 
give me no credit ; it all belongs to them dear people 
13 183 



MARK TWAIN 

in Pokeville camp-meeting, natural brothers and 
benefactors of the race, and that dear preacher there, 
the truest friend a pirate ever had!" 

And then he busted into tears, and so did every- 
body. Then somebody sings out, "Take up a col- 
lection for him, take up a collection!" Well, a half 
a dozen made a jump to do it, but somebody sings 
out, "Let him pass the hat around!" Then every- 
body said it, the preacher too. 

So the king went all through the crowd with his 
hat, swabbing his eyes, and blessing the people and 
praising them and thanking them for being so good 
to the poor pirates away off there; and every little 
while the prettiest kind of girls, with the tears 
running down their cheeks, would up and ask him 
would he let them kiss him for to remember him by ; 
and he always done it; and some of them he hugged 
and kissed as many as five or six times — and he was 
invited to stay a week; and everybody wanted him 
to live in their houses, and said they'd think it was 
an honor; but he said as this was the last day of 
the camp-meeting he couldn't do no good, and be- 
sides he was in a sweat to get to the Indian Ocean 
right off and go to work on the pirates. 

When we got back to the raft and he come to 
count up he found he had collected eighty-seven 
dollars and seventy-five cents. And then he had 
fetched away a three-gallon jug of whisky, too, that 
he found under a wagon when he was starting home 
through the woods. The king said, take it all 
around, it laid over any day he'd ever put in in the 
missionarying line. He said it warn't no use talking, 

184 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

heathens don't amount to shucks alongside of pirates 
to work a camp-meeting with. 

The duke was thinking he'd been doing pretty 
well till the king come to show up, but after that 
he didn't think so so much. He had set up and 
printed off two little jobs for farmers in that 
printing-ofhce — horse bills — and took the money, 
four dollars. And he had got in ten dollars' worth 
of advertisements for the paper, which he said he 
would put in for four dollars if they would pay in 
advance — so they done it. The price of the paper 
was two dollars a year, but he took in three sub- 
scriptions for half a dollar apiece on condition of 
them paying him in advance ; they were going to pay 
in cordwood and onions as usual, but he said he had 
just bought the concern and knocked down the 
price as low as he could afford it, and was going to 
run it for cash. He set up a little piece of poetry, 
which he made, himself, out of his own head — three 
verses — kind of sweet and saddish — the name of it 
was, "Yes, crush, cold world, this breaking heart" — 
and he left that all set up and ready to print in the 
paper, and didn't charge nothing for it. Well, he 
took in nine dollars and a half, and said he'd done a 
pretty square day's work for it. 

Then he showed us another little job he'd printed 
and hadn't charged for, because it was for us. It 
had a picture of a runaway nigger with a bundle on 
a stick over his shoulder, and **$20o reward" under 
it. The reading was all about Jim and just described 
him to a dot. It said he run away from St. Jacques's 
plantation, forty mile below New Orleans, last win- 

i8s 



MARK TWAIN 

ter, and likely went north, and whoever would catch 
him and send him back he could have the reward 
and expenses. 

"Now," says the duke, "after to-night we can 
run in the daytime if we want to. Whenever we see 
anybody coming we can tie Jim hand and foot with 
a rope, and lay him in the wigwam and show this 
handbill and say we captured him up the river, and 
were too poor to travel on a steamboat, so we got 
this httle raft on credit from our friends and are 
going down to get the reward. Handcuffs and 
chains would look still better on Jim, but it wouldn't 
go well with the story of us being so poor. Too much 
like jewelry. Ropes are the correct thing — we must 
preserve the unities, as we say on the boards." 

We all said the duke was pretty smart, and there 
couldn't be no trouble about running daytimes. We 
judged we could make miles enough that night to 
get out of the reach of the powwow we reckoned the 
duke's work in the printing-office was going to 
make in that little town; then we could boom right 
along if we wanted to. 

We laid low and kept still, and never shoved out 
till nearly ten o'clock; then we slid by, pretty wide 
away from the town, and didn't hoist our lantern 
till we was clear out of sight of it. 

When Jim called me to take the watch at four in 
the morning, he says: 

"Huck, does you reck'n we gwyne to run acrost 
any mo' kings on dis trip?" 

"No," I says, "I reckon not." 

**Well," says he, "dat's all right, den. I doan' 
i86 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

mine one er two kings, but dat's enough. Dis one's 
powerful drunk, en de duke ain' much better." 

I found Jim had been trying to get him to talk 
French, so he could hear what it was like; but he 
said he had been in this country so long, and had 
so much trouble, he'd forgot it. 



I 



CHAPTER XXI 

IT was after sun-up now, but we went right on and 
didn't tie up. The king and the duke turned 
out by and by looking pretty rusty; but after they'd 
jumped overboard and took a swim it chippered 
them up a good deal. After breakfast the king he 
took a seat on the corner of the raft, and pulled off 
his boots and rolled up his britches, and let his legs 
dangle in the water, so as to be comfortable, and 
lit his pipe, and went to getting his ** Romeo and 
Juliet" by heart. When he had got it pretty good 
him and the duke begun to practise it together. 
The duke had to learn him over and over again how 
to say every speech; and he made him sigh, and put 
his hand on his heart, and after a while he said he 
done it pretty well; "only," he says, "you mustn't 
bellow out Romeo! that way, like a bull — you must 
say it soft and sick and languishy, so — R-o-o-meo! 
that is the idea; for Juliet's a dear sweet mere child 
of a girl, you know, and she doesn't bray like a 
jackass." 

Well, next they got out a couple of long swords 
that the duke made out of oak laths, and begun to 
practise the sword-fight — the duke called himself 
Richard III.; and the way they laid on and pranced 
around the raft was grand to see. But by and by 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

the king tripped and fell overboard, and after that 
they took a rest, and had a talk about all kinds of 
adventures they'd had in other times along the river. 

After dinner the duke says: 

"Well, Capet, we'll want to make this a first-class 
show, you know, so I guess we'll add a little more to 
it. We want a little something to answer encores 
with, anyway." 

"What's onkores, Bilge water?" 

The duke told him, and then says: 

"I'll answer by doing the Highland fling or the 
sailor's hornpipe; and you — well, let me see — oh, 
I've got it — you can do Hamlet's soliloquy." 

"Hamlet's which?" 

"Hamlet's soliloquy, you know; the most cele- 
brated thing in Shakespeare. Ah, it's sublime, sub- 
lime! Always fetches the house. I haven't got it in 
the book — I've only got one volume — but I reckon I 
can piece it out from memory. I'll just walk up and 
down a minute, and see if I can call it back from 
recollection's vaults." 

So he went to marching up and down, thinking, and 
frowning horrible every now and then; then he 
would hoist up his eyebrows ; next he would squeeze 
his hand on his forehead and stagger back and kind 
of moan ; next he would sigh, and next he'd let on to 
drop a tear. It was beautiful to see him. By and 
by he got it. He told us to give attention. Then 
he strikes a most noble attitude, with one leg shoved 
forwards, and his arms stretched away up, and his 
head tilted back, looking up at the sky; and then he 
begins to rip and rave and grit his teeth; and after 

189 



MARK TWAIN 

that, all through his speech, he howled, and spread 
around, and swelled up his chest, and just knocked 
the spots out of any acting ever / see before. This 
is the speech — I learned it, easy enough, while he 
was learning it to the king : 

To be, or not to be; that is the bare bodkin 

That makes calamity of so long life; 

For who would fardels bear, till Birnam Wood do come to 

Dunsinane, 
But that the fear of something after death 
Murders the innocent sleep, 
Great nature's second course. 

And makes us rather sling the arrows of outrageous fortune 
Than fly to others that we know not of. 
There's the respect must give us pause: 
Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst; 
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, 
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely, 
The law's delay, and the quietus which his pangs might take. 
In the dead waste and middle of the night, when churchyards 

yawn 
In customary suits of solemn black, 
But that the undiscovered country from whose bourne no 

traveler returns. 
Breathes forth contagion on the world. 
And thus the native hue of resolution, like the poor cat i' the 

adage. 
Is sicklied o'er with care, 

And all the clouds that lowered o'er our housetops, 
With this regard their currents turn awry, 
And lose the name of action. 
'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. But soft you, the 

fair Ophelia: 
Ope not thy ponderous and marble jaws, 
But get thee to a nunnery — go! 

Well, the old man he liked that speech, and he 
mighty soon got it so he could do it first rate. It 

190 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

seemed like he was just bom for it ; and when he had 
his hand in and was excited, it was perfectly lovely 
the way he would rip and tear and rair up behind 
when he was getting it off. 

The first chance we got the duke he had some 
show-bills printed; and after that, for two or three 
days as we floated along, the raft was a most uncom- 
mon lively place, for there wam't nothing but sword- 
fighting and rehearsing — as the duke called it — going 
on all the time. One morning, when we was pretty 
well down the state of Arkansaw, we come in sight 
of a little one-horse town in a big bend ; so we tied up 
about three-quarters of a mile above it, in the mouth 
of a crick which was shut in like a tunnel by the cy- 
press trees, and all of us but Jim took the canoe and 
went down there to see if there was any chance in 
that place for our show. 

We struck it mighty lucky; there was going to be 
a circus there that afternoon, and the country-people 
was already beginning to come in, in all kinds of old 
shackly wagons, and on horses. The circus would 
leave before night, so our show would have a pretty 
good chance. The duke he hired the court-house, and 
we went around and stuck up our bills. They read 

like this : 

Shaksperean Revival ! ! ! 

Wonderful Attraction! 

For One Night Only! 

The world renowned tragedians, 

David Garrick the younger, of Drury Lane Theatre, London, 

and 

Edmund Kean the elder, of the Royal Haymarket Theatre, 

Whitechapel, Pudding Lane, Piccadilly, London, and the 

Royal Continental Theatres, in their sublime 

191 



MARK TWAIN 

Shaksperean Spectacle entitled 

The Balcony Scene 

in 

Romeo and Juliet ! ! ! 

Romeo Mr. Garrick 

Juliet Mr. Kean 

Assisted by the whole strength of the company! 

New costumes, new scenery, new appointments! 

Also: 

The thrilling, masterly, and blood-curdling 

Broad-sword conflict 

In Richard III. ! ! ! 

Richard III Mr. Garrick 

Richmond Mr. Kean 

Also: 

(by special request) 

Hamlet's Immortal Soliloquy ! I 

By the Illustrious Kean! 

Done by him 300 consecutive nights in Paris! 

For One Night Only, 

On account of imperative European engagements! 

Admission 25 cents; children and servants, 10 cents. 

Then we went loafing around town. The stores 
and houses was most all old, shackly, dried-up frame 
concerns that hadn't ever been painted; they was 
set up three or four foot above ground on stilts, so 
as to be out of reach of the water when the river was 
overflowed. The houses had little gardens around 
them, but they didn't seem to raise hardly anything 
in them but jimpson- weeds, and sunflowers, and ash- 
piles, and old curled-up boots and shoes, and pieces 
of bottles, and rags, and played-out tinware. The 
fences was made of different kinds of boards, nailed 
on at difTerent times; and they leaned every which 
way, and had gates that didn't generly have but 
one hinge — a leather one. Some of the fences had 

192 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

been whitewashed some time or another, but the 
duke said it was in Columbus's time, like enough. 
There was generly hogs in the garden, and people 
driving them out. 

All the stores was along one street. They had white 
domestic awnings in front, and the country-people 
hitched their horses to the awning-posts. There 
was empty dry-goods boxes under the awnings, and 
loafers roosting on them all day long, whittling them 
with their Barlow knives; and chawing tobacco, and 
gaping and yawning and stretching — a mighty ornery 
lot. They generly had on yellow straw hats most as 
wide as an umbrella, but didn't wear no coats nor 
waistcoats; they called one another Bill, and Buck, 
and Hank, and Joe, and Andy, and talked lazy and 
drawly, and used considerable many cuss-words. 
There was as many as one loafer leaning up against 
every awning-post, and he most always had his hands 
in his britches pockets, except when he fetched them 
out to lend a chaw of tobacco or scratch. What a 
body was hearing amongst them all the time was: 
"Gimme a chaw 'v tobacker. Hank." 
* * Cain't ; I hain't got but one chaw left. Ask Bill. ' ' 
Maybe Bill he gives him a chaw; maybe he lies and 
says he ain't got none. Some of them kinds of 
loafers never has a cent in the world, nor a chaw of 
tobacco of their own. They get all their chawing by 
borrowing; they say to a fellow, "I wisht you'd len' 
me a chaw, Jack, I jist this minute give Ben Thomp- 
son the last chaw I had" — which is a lie pretty much 
every time; it don't fool nobody but a stranger; but 
Jack ain't no stranger, so he says : 

193 



MARK TWAIN 

* ' Yoii give him a chaw, did you ? So did your 
sister's cat's grandmother. You pay me back the 
chaws you've awready borry'd off'n me, Lafe Buck- 
ner, then I'll loan you one or two ton of it, and won't 
charge you no back intrust, nuther." 

"Well, I did pay you back some of it wunst." 
"Yes, you did — 'bout six chaws. You borry'd 
store tobacker and paid back nigger-head." 

Store tobacco is flat black plug, but these fellows 
mostly chaws the natural leaf twisted. When they 
borrow a chaw they don't generly cut it off with a 
knife, but set the plug in between their teeth, and 
gnaw with their teeth and tug at the plug with their 
hands till they get it in two; then sometimes the one 
that owns the tobacco looks mournful at it when it's 
handed back, and says, sarcastic: 

"Here, gimme the chaw, and you take the plug.'^ 
All the streets and lanes was just mud; they warn't 
nothing else but mud — mud as black as tar and nigh 
about a foot deep in some places, and two or three 
inches deep in all the places. The hogs loafed and 
grunted around everywheres. You'd see a muddy 
sow and a litter of pigs come lazying along the street 
and whollop herself right down in the way, where 
folks had to walk around her, and she'd stretch out 
and shut her eyes and wave her ears whilst the pigs 
was milking her, and look as happy as if she was 
on salary. And pretty soon you'd hear a loafer sing 
out, "Hi! so boy! sick him, Tige!" and away the 
sow would go, squealing most horrible, with a dog 
or two swinging to each ear, and three or four dozen 
more a-coming ; and then you would see all the loafers 

194 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

get up and watch the thing out of sight, and laugh 
at the fun and look grateful for the noise. Then 
they'd settle back again till there was a dog-fight. 
There couldn't anything wake them up all over, and 
make them happy all over, like a dog-fight — unless 
it might be putting turpentine on a stray dog and 
setting fire to him, or tying a tin pan to his tail 
and see him run himself to death. 

On the river-front some of the houses was sticking 
out over the bank, and they was bowed and bent, 
and about ready to tumble in. The people had 
moved out of them. The bank was caved away 
under one corner of some others, and that corner 
was hanging over. People lived in them yet, but 
it was dangersome, because sometimes a strip of 
land as wide as a house caves in at a time. Some- 
times a belt of land a quarter of a mile deep will 
start in and cave along and cave along till it all 
caves into the river in one summer. Such a town 
as that has to be always moving back, and back, and 
back, because the river's always gnawing at it. 

The nearer it got to noon that day the thicker 
and thicker was the wagons and horses in the streets, 
and more coming all the time. Families fetched their 
dinners with them from the country, and eat them 
in the wagons. There was considerable whisky- 
drinking going on, and I seen three fights. By and 
by somebody sings out: 

''Here comes old Boggs! — ^in from the country for 
his little old monthly drunk; here he comes, boys!" 

All the loafers looked glad; I reckoned they was 
used to having fun out of Boggs. One of them says : 

195 



MARK TWAIN 

** Wonder who he's a-g\\^ne to chaw up this time. 
If he'd a-chawed up all the men he's ben a-gwyne to 
chaw up in the last twenty year he'd have consider- 
able ruputation now." 

Another one says, "I wisht old Boggs 'd threaten 
me, 'cuz then I'd know I warn't gwyne to die for 
a thousan' year." 

Boggs comes a-tearing along on his horse, whoop- 
ing and yelling like an Injun, and singing out: 

"Cler the track, thar. I'm on the waw-path, and 
the price uv coffins is a-gwyne to raise." 

He was drunk, and weaving about in his saddle; 
he was over fifty year old, and had a very red face. 
Everybody yelled at him and laughed at him and 
sassed him, and he sassed back, and said he'd attend 
to them and lay them out in their regular turns, but 
he couldn't wait now because he'd come to town to 
kill old Colonel Sherburn, and his motto was, ''Meat 
first, and spoon vittles to top off on." 

He see me, and rode up and says: 

" Whar'dyou come f 'm, boy ? You prepared to die ?" 

Then he rode on. I was scared, but a man says: 

"He don't mean nothing; he's always a-carryin' 
on like that when he's drunk. He's the best-natured- 
est old fool in Arkansaw — never hurt nobody, drunk 
nor sober." 

Boggs rode up before the biggest store in town, and 
bent his head down so he could see under the curtain 
of the awning and yells: 

"Come out here, Sherburn! Come out and meet 
the man you've swindled. You're the houn' I'm 
after, and I'm a-gwyne to have you, tool" 

196 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

And so he went on, calling Sherburn everything he 
could lay his tongue to, and the whole street packed 
with people listening and laughing and going on. 
By and by a proud-looking man about fifty-five — 
and he was a heap the best-dressed man in that 
town, too — steps out of the store, and the crowd 
drops back on each side to let him come. He says 
to Boggs, mighty ca'm and slow — he says: 

"I'm tired of this, but I'll endure it till one o'clock. 
Till one o'clock, mind — no longer. If you open your 
mouth against me only once after that time you 
can't travel so far but I will find you." 

Then he turns and goes in. The crowd looked 
mighty sober; nobody stirred, and there warn't no 
more laughing. Boggs rode off blackguarding Sher- 
burn as loud as he could yell, all down the street; 
and pretty soon back he comes and stops before the 
store, still keeping it up. Some men crowded around 
him and tried to get him to shut up, but he wouldn't; 
they told him it would be one o'clock in about fifteen 
minutes, and so he must go home — ^he must go right 
away. But it didn't do no good. He cussed away 
with all his might, and thro wed his hat down in 
the mud and rode over it, and pretty soon away he 
went a-raging down the street again, with his gray 
hair a-flying. Everybody that could get a chance 
at him tried their best to coax him off of his horse 
so they could lock him up and get him sober; but it 
warn't no use — up the street he would tear again, 
and give Sherburn another cussing. By and by 
somebody says: 

"Go for his daughter! — quick, go for his daughter; 
197 



MARK TWAIN 

sometimes he'll listen to her. If anybody can 
persuade him, she can." 

So somebody started on a run. I walked down 
street a ways and stopped. In about five or ten 
minutes here comes Boggs again, but not on his 
horse. He was a-reeling across the street towards 
me, bareheaded, with a friend on both sides of him 
a-holt of his arms and hurrying him along. He was 
quiet, and looked uneasy; and he warn't hanging 
back any, but was doing some of the hurrying him- 
self. Somebody sings out: 

"Boggs!" 

I looked over there to see who said it, and it was 
that Colonel Sherburn. He was standing perfectly 
still in the street, and had a pistol raised in his 
right hand — not aiming it, but holding it out with 
the barrel tilted up towards the sky. The same 
second I see a young girl coming on the run, and 
two men with her. Boggs and the men turned round 
to see who called him, and when they see the pistol 
the men jumped to one side, and the pistol-barrel 
come down slow and steady to a level — both barrels 
cocked. Boggs throws up both of his hands and 
says, "O Lord, don't shoot!" Bang! goes the first 
shot, and he staggers back, clawing at the air — bang! 
goes the second one, and he tumbles backwards on- 
to the ground, heavy and solid, with his arms spread 
out. That young girl screamed out and comes 
rushing, and down she throws herself on her father, 
crying, and saying, "Oh, he's killed him, he's killed 
him!" The crowd closed up around them, and 
shouldered and jammed one another, with their 

198 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

necks stretched, trying to see, and people on the 
inside trying to shove them back and shouting, 
"Back, back! give him air, give him air!" 

Colonel Sherburn he tossed his pistol onto the 
ground, and turned around on his heels and walked 
off. 

They took Boggs to a little drug store, the crowd 
pressing around just the same, and the whole town 
following, and I rushed and got a good place at the 
window, where I was close to him and could see in. 
They laid him on the floor and put one large Bible 
under his head, and opened another one and spread 
it on his breast; but they tore open his shirt first, 
and I seen where one of tbe bullets went in. He 
made about a dozen long gasps, his breast lifting 
the Bible up when he drawed in his breath, and 
letting it down again when he breathed it out — and 
after that he laid still; he was dead. Then they 
pulled his daughter away from him, screaming and 
crying, and took her off. She was about sixteen, and 
very sweet and gentle looking, but awful pale and 
scared. 

Wsll, pretty soon the whole town was there, 
squirming and scrouging and pushing and shoving 
to get at the window and have a look, but people 
that had the places wouldn't give them up, and folks 
behind them was saying all the time, "Say, now, 
you've looked enough, you fellows; 'tain't right and 
't ain't fair for you to stay thar all the time, and never 
give nobody a chance ; other folks has their rights as 
well as you." 

There was considerable jawing back, so I slid out, 

14 199 



MARK TWAIN 

thinking maybe there was going to be trouble. The 
streets was full, and everybody was excited. Every- 
body that seen the shooting was telling how it 
happened, and there was a big crowd packed around 
each one of these fellows, stretching their necks and 
listening. One long, lanky man, with long hair and 
a big white fur stovepipe hat on the back of his 
head, and a crooked-handled cane, marked out the 
places on the ground where Boggs stood and where 
Sherburn stood, and the people following him around 
from one place to t'other and watching everything 
he done, and bobbing their heads to show they 
understood, and stooping a little and resting their 
hands on their thighs to watch him mark the places 
on the ground with his cane; and then he stood up 
straight and stiff where Sherburn had stood, frowning 
and having his hat -brim down over his eyes, and 
sung out, "Boggs!" and then fetched his cane down 
slow to a level, and says "Bang!" staggered back- 
wards, says "Bang!" again, and fell down fiat on his 
back. The people that had seen the thing said he 
done it perfect; said it was just exactly the way it all 
happened. Then as much as a dozen people got out 
their bottles and treated him. 

Well, by and by somebody said Sherburn ought 
to be lynched. In about a minute everybody was 
saying it; so away they went, mad and yelling, and 
snatching down every clothes-line they come to to 
do the hanging with. 



CHAPTER XXII 

THEY swarmed up towards Sherburn's house, 
a- whooping and raging hke Injuns, and every- 
thing had to clear the way or get run over and 
tromped to mush, and it was awful to see. Children 
was heeling it ahead of the mob, screaming and 
trying to get out of the way ; and every window along 
the road was full of women's heads, and there was 
nigger boys in every tree, and bucks and wenches 
looking over every fence; and as soon as the mob 
would get nearly to them they would break and 
skaddle back out of reach. Lots of the women and 
girls was crying and taking on, scared most to death. 

They swarmed up in front of Sherburn's palings 
as thick as they could jam together, and you couldn't 
hear yourself think for the noise. It was a little 
twenty-foot yard. Some sung out "Tear down the 
fence! tear down the fence!" Then there was a 
racket of ripping and tearing and smashing, and down 
she goes, and the front wall of the crowd begins to 
roll in like a wave. 

Just then Sherburn steps out onto the roof of his 
little front porch, with a double-barrel gun in his 
hand, and takes his stand, perfectly ca'm and de- 
liberate, not saying a word. The racket stopped, 
and the wave sucked back. 

201 



MARK TWAIN 

Sherbum never said a word — just stood there, look- 
ing down. The stillness was awful creepy and un- 
comfortable. Sherburn run his eye slow along the 
crowd; and wherever it struck the people tried a 
little to outgaze him, but they couldn't; they 
dropped their eyes and looked sneaky. Then pretty 
soon Sherburn sort of laughed ; not the pleasant kind, 
but the kind that makes you feel like when you are 
eating bread that's got sand in it. 

Then he says, slow and scornful: 

"The idea of yoit lynching anybody ! It's amusing. 
The idea of you thinking you had pluck enough to 
lynch a man! Because you're brave enough to tar 
and feather poor friendless cast-out women that come 
along here, did that make you think you had grit 
enough to lay your hands on a man? Why, a mans 
safe in the hands of ten thousand of your kind — as 
long as it's daytime and you're not behind him. 

"Do I know you? I know you clear through. I 
was bom and raised in the South, and I've lived in 
the North; so I know the average all around. The 
average man's a coward. In the North he lets any- 
body walk over him that wants to, and goes home and 
prays for a humble spirit to bear it. In the South 
one man, all by himself, has stopped a stage full of 
men in the daytime, and robbed the lot. Your news- 
papers caU you a brave people so much that you think 
you are braver than any other people — whereas 
you're just as brave, and no braver. Why don't 
your juries hang murderers? Because they're afraid 
the man's friends will shoot them in the back, in the 
dark — and it's just what they would do. 

202 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

*'So they always acquit; and then a man goes in 
the night, with a hundred masked cowards at his 
back, and lynches the rascal. Your mistake is, that 
you didn't bring a man with you; that's one mistake, 
and the other is that you didn't come in the dark 
and fetch your masks. You brought part of a man — 
Buck Harkness, there — and if you hadn't had liim 
to start you, you'd 'a' taken it out in blowing. 

"You didn't w^ant to come. The average man 
don't like trouble and danger. You don't like trouble 
and danger. But if only half a man — like Buck 
Harkness, there — shouts 'Lynch him! lynch him!' 
you're afraid to back down — afraid you'll be found 
out to be what you are — cowards — and so you raise 
a yell, and hang yourselves onto that half-a-man's 
coat-tail, and come raging up here, swearing what big 
things you're going to do. The pitifulest thing out is 
a mob; that's what an army is — a mob; they don't 
fight with courage that's born in them, but with cour- 
age that's borrowed from their mass, and from their 
officers. But a mob without any man at the head of 
it is beneath pitifulness. Now the thing for you to do 
is to droop your tails and go home and crawl in a 
hole. If any real lynching 's going to be done it will 
be done in the dark, Southern fashion ; and when they 
come they'll bring their masks, and fetch a man along. 
Now leave — and take your half-a-man with you" — 
tossing his gun up across his left arm and cocking it 
when he says this. 

The crowd washed back sudden, and then broke 
all apart, and went tearing off every which way, and 
Buck Harkness he heeled it after them, looking tol- 

203 



MARK TWAIN 

erable cheap. I could 'a' stayed if I wanted to, but 
I didn't want to. 

I went to the circus and loafed around the back 
vside till the watchman went by, and then dived in 
under the tent. I had my twenty-dollar gold piece 
and some other money, but I reckoned I better save 
it, because there ain't no telling how soon you are 
going to need it, away from home and amongst 
strangers that way. You can't be too careful. I 
ain't opposed to spending money on circuses when 
there ain't no other way, but there ain't no use in 
wasting it on them. 

It was a real bully circus. It was the splendidest 
sight that ever was when they all come riding in, 
two and two, and gentleman and lady, side by side, 
the men just in their drawers and undershirts, and 
no shoes nor stirrups, and resting their hands on their 
thighs easy and comfortable — there must 'a' been 
twenty of them — and every lady with a lovely com- 
plexion, and perfectly beautiful, and looking just like 
a gang of real sure-enough queens, and dressed in 
clothes that cost millions of dollars, and just littered 
with diamonds. It was a powerful fine sight ; I never 
see anything so lovely. And then one by one they 
got up and stood, and went a-weaving around the 
ring so gentle and wavy and graceful, the men looking 
ever so tall and airy and straight, with their heads 
bobbing and skimming along, away up there under 
the tent-roof, and every lady's rose-leafy dress flap- 
ping soft and silky around her hips, and she looking 
like the most loveliest parasol. 

And then faster and faster they went, all of them 
204 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

dancing, first one foot out in the air and then the 
other, the horses leaning more and more, and the 
ringmaster going round and round the center pole, 
cracking his whip and shouting "Hi!— hi!" and the 
clown cracking jokes behind him; and by and by all 
hands dropped the reins, and every lady put her 
knuckles on her hips and every gentleman folded his 
arms, and then how the horses did lean over and 
hump themselves! And so one after the other they 
all skipped off into the ring, and made the sweetest 
bow I ever see, and then scampered out, and every- 
body clapped their hands and went just about wild. 
Well, all through the circus they done the most 
astonishing things; and all the time that clown car- 
ried on so it most killed the people. The ringmaster 
couldn't ever say a word to him but he was back at 
him quick as a wink with the funniest things a body 
ever said ; and how he ever could think of so many of 
them, and so sudden and so pat, was what I couldn't 
no way understand. Why, I couldn't 'a' thought of 
them in a year. And by and by a drunken man tried 
to get into the ring — said he wanted to ride ; said he 
could ride as well as anybody that ever was. They 
argued and tried to keep him out, but he wouldn't 
listen, and the whole show come to a standstill. Then 
the people begun to holler at him and make fun of 
him, and that made him mad, and he begun to rip 
and tear; so that stirred up the people, and a lot of 
men begun to pile down off of the benches and swarm 
toward the ring, saying, "Knock him down! throw 
him out!" and one or two women begun to scream. 
So, then, the ringmaster he made a little speech, and 



MARK TWAIN 

said he hoped there wouldn't be no disturbance, and 
if the man would promise he wouldn't make no more 
trouble he would let him ride if he thought he could 
stay on the horse. So everybody laughed and said all 
right, and the man got on. The minute he was on, 
the horse begun to rip and tear and jump and cavort 
around, with two circus men hanging on to his bridle 
trying to hold him, and the drunken man hanging on 
to his neck, and his heels flying in the air every^ jump, 
and the whole crowd of people standing up shouting 
and laughing till tears rolled down. And at last, sure 
enough, all the circus men could do, the horse broke 
loose, and away he went like the very nation, round 
and round the ring, with that sot laying down on him 
and hanging to his neck, with first one leg hanging 
most to the ground on one side, and then t'other one 
on t'other side, and the people just crazy. It warn't 
funny to me, though ; I was all of a tremble to see his 
danger. But pretty soon he struggled up astraddle 
and grabbed the bridle, a-reeling this way and that ; 
and the next minute he sprung up and dropped the 
bridle and stood! and the horse a-going like a house 
afire, too. He just stood up there, a-sailing around 
as easy and comfortable as if he warn't ever drunk in 
his life — and then he begun to pull off his clothes 
and sling them. He shed them so thick they kind 
of clogged up the air, and altogether he shed seven- 
teen suits. And, then, there he was, slim and hand- 
some, and dressed the gaudiest and prettiest you 
ever saw, and he lit into that horse with his whip 
and made him fairly hum — and finally skipped off, 
and made his bow and danced off to the dressing- 

206 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

room, and everybody just a-howling with pleasure 
and astonishment. 

Then the ringmaster he see how he had been fooled, 
and he was the sickest ringmaster you ever see, I 
reckon. Why, it was one of his own men! He had 
got up that joke all out of his own head, and never let 
on to nobody. Well, I felt sheepish enough to be 
took in so, but I wouldn't 'a' been in that ringmaster's 
place, not for a thousand dollars. I don't know; 
there may be bullier circuses than what that one 
was, but I never struck them yet. Anyways, it was 
plenty good enough for me; and wherever I run 
across it, it can have all of my custom every time. 

Well, that night we had our show; but there warn't 
only about twelve people there — just enough to pay 
expenses. And they laughed all the time, and that 
made the duke mad; and everybody left, anyway, 
before the show was over, but one boy which was 
asleep. So the duke said these Arkansaw lunkheads 
couldn't come up to Shakespeare; what they wanted 
was low comedy — and maybe something ruther worse 
than low comedy, he reckoned. He said he could size 
their style. So next morning he got some big sheets of 
wrapping-paper and some black paint, and drawed off 
some handbills, and stuck them up all over the village. 
The bills said : 

AT THE COURT HOUSE! 

FOR 3 NIGHTS ONLY! 

The World-Refiowned Tragedians 
DAVID GARRICK THE YOUNGER! 

AND 

EDMUND KEAN THE ELDER! 

Of the London and Continental 

Theatres, 

207 



MARK TWAIN 

In their Thrilling Tragedy of 
THE KING'S CAMELEOPARD, 

OR 

THE ROYAL NONESUCH!! 
Admission jo cents. 

Then at the bottom was the biggest line of all, which 
said: 

LADIES AND CHILDREN NOT ADMITTED 

"There," says he, "if that line don't fetch them, I 
don't know Arkansaw!" 



CHAPTER XXIII 

WELL, all day him and the king was hard at it, 
rigging up a stage and a curtain and a row of 
candles for footlights ; and that night the house was 
jam full of men in no time. When the place couldn't 
hold no more, the duke he quit tending door and went 
around the back way and come onto the stage and 
stood up before the curtain and made a little speech, 
and praised up this tragedy, and said it was the most 
thriUingest one that ever was; and so he went on a- 
bragging about the tragedy, and about Edmund Kean 
the Elder, which was to play the main principal part 
in it; and at last when he'd got everybody's expecta- 
tions up high enough, he rolled up the curtain, and 
the next minute the king come a-prancing out on all 
fours, naked; and he was painted all over, ring- 
streaked-and-striped, all sorts of colors, as splendid 
as a rainbow. And — but never mind the rest of his 
outfit; it was just wild, but it was awful funny. The 
people most killed themselves laughing; and when 
the king got done capering and capered off behind 
the scenes, they roared and clapped and stormed 
and haw-hawed till he come back and done it over 
again, and after that they made him do it another 
time. Well, it would make a cow laugh to see the 
shines that old idiot cut. 

209 



MARK TWAIN 

Then the duke he lets the curtain down, and bows 
to the people, and says the great tragedy will be per- 
formed only two nights more, on accounts of pressing 
London engagements, where the seats is all sold 
already for it in Drury Lane; and then he makes 
them another bow, and says if he has succeeded 
in pleasing them and instructing them, he will be 
deeply oblecged if they will mention it to their friends 
and get them to come and see it. 

Twenty people sings out : 

"What, is it over? Is that alir' 

The duke says yes. Then there was a fine time. 
Everybody sings out, "Sold!" and rose up mad, 
and was a-going for that stage and them tragedians. 
But a big, fine-looking man jumps up on a bench 
and shouts : 

"Hold on! Just a word, gentlemen." They 
stopped to listen. ' ' We are sold — mighty badty sold. 
But we don't want to be the laughing-stock of this 
whole town, I reckon, and never hear the last of this 
thing as long as we live. No. What we want is to 
go out of here quiet, and talk this show up, and sell 
the rest of the town! Then we'll all be in the same 
boat. Ain't that sensible?" ("You bet it is! — the 
jedge is right!" everybody sings out.) "All right, 
then — not a word about any sell. Go along home, 
and advise everybody to come and see the tragedy." 

Next day you couldn't hear nothing around that 
town but how splendid that show was. House was 
jammed again that night, and we sold this crowd the 
same way. When me and the king and the duke 
got home to the raft we all had a supper; and by 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

.\nd by, about midnight, they made Jim and me 
back her out and float her down the middle of the 
river, and fetch her in and hide her about two mile 
below town. 

The third night the house was crammed again — 
and they warn't new-comers this time, but people 
that was at the show the other two nights. I stood 
by the duke at the door, and I see that every man 
that went in had his pockets bulging, or something 
muffled up under his coat — and I see it warn't no 
perfumery, neither, not by a long sight. I smelt 
sickly eggs by the barrel, and rotten cabbages, and 
such things; and if I know the signs of a dead cat 
being around, and I bet I do, there was sixty-four 
of them w^ent in. I shoved in there for a minute, 
but it was too various for me; I couldn't stand it. 
Well, when the place couldn't hold no more people 
the duke he give a fellow a quarter and told him to 
tend door for him a minute, and then he started 
around for the stage door, I after him ; but the minute 
we turned the corner and was in the dark he says : 

** Walk fast now till you get away from the houses, 
and then shin for the raft like the dickens was after 
you!" 

I done it, and he done the same. We struck the 
raft at the same time, and in less than two seconds 
we was gliding down-stream, all dark and still, and 
edging towards the middle of the river, nobody 
saying a word. I reckoned the poor king was in for 
a gaudy time of it with the audience, but nothing of 
the sort; pretty soon he crawls out from under the 
wigwam, and says: 

211 



MARK TWAIN 

"Well, how'd the old thing pan out this time, 
duke?" He hadn't been up-town at all. 

We never showed a light till we was about ten 
mile below the village. Then we lit up and had a 
supper, and the king and the duke fairly laughed 
their bones loose over the way they'd served them 
people. The duke says: 

"Greenhorns, flatheads! I knew the first house 
would keep mum and let the rest of the town get 
roped in; and I knew they'd lay for us the third 
night, and consider it was their turn now. Well, it 
is their turn, and I'd give something to know how 
much they'd take for it. I would just like to know 
how they're putting in their opportunity. They can 
turn it into a picnic if they want to — they brought 
plenty provisions." 

Them rapscallions took in four hundred and 
sixty-five dollars in that three nights. I never see 
money hauled in by the wagon-load like that before. 

By and by, when they was asleep and snoring, Jim 
says: 

"Don't it s'prise you de way dem kings carries 
on, Huck?" 

"No," I says, "it don't." 

"Why don't it, Huck?" 

* * Well, it don't, because it's in the breed. I reckon 
they're all alike." 

"But, Huck, dese kings o' ourn is reglar rapscal- 
lions ; dat's jist what dey is ; dey's reglar rapscallions." 

"Well, that's what I'm a-saying; all kings is 
mostly rapscallions, as fur as I can make out." 

"Isdat so?" 

9U 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

**You read about them once — you'll see. Look 
at Henry the Eight; this 'n' 's a Sunday-school 
Superintendent to him. And look at Charles Second, 
and Louis Fourteen, and Louis Fifteen, and James 
Second, and Edward Second, and Richard Third, and 
forty more; besides all them Saxon heptarchies that 
used to rip around so in old times and raise Cain. 
My, you ought to seen old Henry the Eight when 
he was in bloom. He was a blossom. He used to 
marry a new wife every day, and chop off her head 
next morning. And he would do it just as indiffer- 
ent as if he was ordering up eggs. 'Fetch up Nell 
Gwynn,' he says. They fetch her up. Next morn- 
ing, 'Chop off her head!' And they chop it off. 
'Fetch up Jane Shore,' he says; and up she comes. 
Next morning, 'Chop off her head' — and they chop 
it off. 'Ring up Fair Rosamun.' Fair Rosamun 
answers the bell. Next morning, 'Chop off her 
head.' And he made every one of them tell him a 
tale every night; and he kept that up till he had 
hogged a thousand and one tales that way, and then 
he put them all in a book, and called it Domesday 
Book — which was a good name and stated the case. 
You don't know kings, Jim, but I know them; and 
this old rip of ourn is one of the cleanest Eve struck 
in history. Well, Henry he takes a notion he wants 
to get up some trouble with this country. How does 
he go at it — give notice? — give the country a show? 
No. All of a sudden he heaves all the tea in Boston 
Harbor overboard, and whacks out a declaration of 
independence, and dares them to come on. That 
was his style — he never give anybody a chance. He 

213 



MARK TWAIN 

had suspicions of his father, the Duke of Wellington. 
Well, what did he do? Ask him to show up? No — 
drownded him in a butt of mamsey, like a cat. 
S'pose people left money laying around where he was 
— what did he do? He collared it. S'pose he con- 
tracted to do a thing, and you paid him, and didn't 
set down there and see that he done it — what did 
he do? He always done the other thing. S'pose he 
opened his mouth — what then? If he didn't shut 
it up powerful quick he'd lose a lie every time. 
That's the kind of a bug Henry was; and if we'd 'a' 
had him along 'stead of our kings he'd 'a' fooled that 
town a heap worse than ourn done. I don't say that 
ourn is lambs, because they ain't, when you come 
right down to the cold facts; but they ain't nothing 
to that old ram, anyway. All I say is, kings is kings, 
and you got to make allowances. Take them all 
around, they're a mighty ornery lot. It's the way 
they're raised." 

"But dis one do smell so like de nation, Huck." 

''Well, they all do, Jim. We can't help the way 
a king smells; history don't tell no way." 

''Now de duke, he's a tolerble likely man in some 
ways." 

"Yes, a duke's different. But not very different. 
This one's a middling hard lot for a duke. When 
he's drunk there ain't no near-sighted man could tell 
him from a king." 

"Well, anyways, I doan' hanker for no mo' un 
um, Huck. Dese is all I kin stan'." 

"It's the way I feel, too, Jim. But we've got 
them on our hands, and we got to remember what 

214 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

they are, and make allowances. Sometimes I wish 
we could hear of a country that's out of kings." 

What was the use to tell Jim these warn't real 
kings and dukes ? It wouldn't 'a' done no good ; and, 
besides, it was just as I said: you couldn't tell them 
from the real kind. 

I went to sleep, and Jim didn't call me when it 
was my turn. He often done that. When I waked 
up just at daybreak he was sitting there with his 
head down betwixt his knees, moaning and mourning 
to himself. I didn't take notice nor let on. I 
knowed what it was about. He was thinking about 
his wife and his children, away up yonder, and he 
was low and homesick; because he hadn't ever been 
away from home before in his life; and I do believe 
he cared just as much for his people as white folks 
does for their'n. It don't seem natural, but I 
reckon it's so. He was often moaning and mourning 
that way nights, when he judged I was asleep, and 
saying, "Po' little 'Lizabeth! po' little Johnny! it's 
mighty hard; I spec' I ain't ever gwyne to see you 
no mo', no mo'!" He was a mighty good nigger, 
Jim was. 

But this time I somehow got to talking to him 
about his wife and young ones; and by and by he 
says: 

''What makes me feel so bad dis time 'uz bekase 
I hear sumpn over yonder on de bank like a whack, 
er a slam, while ago, en it mine me er de time I 
treat my Httle 'Lizabeth so ornery. She warn't on'y 
'bout fo' year ole, en she tuck de sk'yarlet fever, en 
had a powful rough spell; but she got well, en one 

15 215 



MARK TWAIN 

day she was a-stannin' aroun', en I says to her, I 
says: 

'"Shet de do'.' 

"She never done it; jis' stood dah, kiner smilin' 
up at me. It make me mad; en I says ag'in, mighty 
loud, I says: 

"'Doan' you hear me? Shet de do'!" 

"She jis stood de same way, kiner smiHn' up. I 
was a-bilin' ! I says : 

*"I lay I make you mine!* 

"En wid dat I fetch' her a slap side de head dat 
sont her a-sprawlin'. Den I went into de yuther 
room, en 'uz gone 'bout ten minutes; en when I 
come back dah was dat do' a-stannin' open yit, en 
dat chile stannin' mos' right in it, a-lookin' down 
and mournin', en de tears runnin' down. My, but 
I WMz mad ! I was a-gwyne for de chile, but jis' den 
— it was a do' dat open innerds — jis' den, 'long come 
de wind en slam it to, behine de chile, ker-blam! — 
en my Ian', de chile never move' ! My breff mos' hop 
outer me; en I feel so — so — I doan' know how I feel. 
I crope out, all a-tremblin', en crope aroun' en open 
de do' easy en slow, en poke my head in behine de 
chile, sof en still, en all uv a sudden I says pow! 
jis' as loud as^I could yell. She never budge! Oh, 
Huck, I bust out a-cryin' en grab her up in my arms, 
en say, 'Oh, de po' Httle thing! De Lord God 
Amighty fogive po' ole Jim, kaze he never gwyne to 
fogive hisself as long's he live ! ' Oh, she was plumb 
deef en dumb, Huck, plumb deef en dumb — en I'd 
ben a-treat'n her sol" 



CHAPTER XXIV 

NEXT day, towards night, we laid up under a little 
willow towhead out in the middle, where there 
was a village on each side of the river, and the duke 
and the king begun to lay out a plan for working 
them towns. Jim he spoke to the duke, and said he 
hoped it wouldn't take but a few hours, because it 
got mighty heavy and tiresome to him when he had 
to lay all day in the w^igwam tied with the rope. 
You see, when we left him all alone we had to tie him, 
because if anybody happened on to him all by him- 
self and not tied it wouldn't look much like he was a 
runaway nigger, you know. So the duke said it was 
kind of hard to have to lay roped all day, and he'd 
cipher out some way to get around it. 

He was uncommon bright, the duke was, and he 
soon struck it. He dressed Jim up in King Lear's 
outfit — it was a long curtain-calico gown, and a white 
horse-hair wig and whiskers; and then he took his 
theater paint and painted Jim's face and hands and 
ears and neck all over a dead, dull solid blue, like a 
man that's been drownded nine days. Blamed if he 
warn't the horriblest -looking outrage I ever see. Then 
the duke took and wrote out a sign on a shingle so : 

^ick Arab — but harmless when not out of his head, 
217 



MARK TWAIN 

And he nailed that shingle to a lath, and stood the 
lath up four or five foot in front of the wigwam. Jim 
was satisfied. He said it was a sight better than lying 
tied a couple of years every day, and trembling all 
over every time there was a sound. The duke told 
him to make himself free and easy, and if anybody 
ever come meddling around, he must hop out of the 
wigwam, and carry on a little, and fetch a howl or 
two like a wild beast, and he reckoned they would 
light out and leave him alone. Which was sound 
enough judgment; but you take the average man, 
and he wouldn't wait for him to howl. Why, he 
didn't only look like he was dead, he looked consid- 
erable more than that. 

These rapscallions wanted to try the Nonesuch 
again, because there was so much money in it, but 
they judged it wouldn't be safe, because maybe the 
news might 'a' worked along down by this time. They 
couldn't hit no project that suited exactly; so at last 
the duke said he reckoned he'd lay off and work his 
brains an hour or two and see if he couldn't put up 
something on the Arkansaw village ; and the king he 
allowed he would drop over to t'other village without 
any plan, but just trust in Providence to lead him the 
profitable way — meaning the devil, I reckon. We 
had all bought store clothes where we stopped last; 
and now the king put his'n on, and he told me to put 
mine on. I done it, of course. The king's duds was 
all black, and he did look real swell and starchy. I 
never knowed how clothes could change a body be- 
fore. Why, before, he looked like the orneriest old 
rip that ever was; but now, when he'd take off his 

218 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

new white beaver and make a bow and do a smile, 
he looked that grand and good and pious that you'd 
say he had walked right out of the ark, and maybe 
was old Leviticus himself. Jim cleaned up the canoe, 
and I got my paddle ready. There was a big steam- 
boat laying at the shore away up under the point, 
about three mile above the town — been there a cou- 
ple of hours, taking on freight. Says the king: 

"Seein' how I'm dressed, I reckon maybe I better 
arrive down from St. Louis or Cincinnati, or some 
other big place. Go for the steamboat, Huckleberry ; 
we'll come down to the village on her." 

I didn't have to be ordered twice to go and take a 
steamboat ride. I fetched the shore a half a mile 
above the village, and then went scooting along the 
bluff bank in the easy water. Pretty soon we come to 
a nice innocent-looking young country jake setting 
on a log swabbing the sweat off of his face, for it was 
powerful warm weather; and he had a couple of big 
carpet-bags by him. 

"Run her nose inshore," says the king. I done 
it. "Wher' you bound for, young man?" 

"For the steamboat; going to Orleans." 

"Git aboard," says the king. "Hold on a minute, 
my servant '11 he'p you with them bags. Jump out 
and he'p the gentleman, Adolphus" — meaning me, I 
see. 

I done so, and then we all three started on again. 
The young chap was mighty thankful; said it was 
tough work toting his baggage such weather. He 
asked the king where he was going, and the king told 
him he'd come down the river and landed at the other 

219 



MARK TWAIN 

village this morning, and now he was going up a few 
mile to see an old friend on a farm up there. The 
young fellow says : 

"When I first see you I says to myself, 'It's Mr. 
Wilks, sure, and he come mighty near getting here in 
time.' But then I says again, 'No, I reckon it ain't 
him, or else he wouldn't be paddling up the river.' 
You ain't him, are you?" 

"No, my name's Blodgett — Elexander Blodgett — 
Reverend Elexander Blodgett, I s'pose I must say, as 
I'm one o' the Lord's poor servants. But still I'm 
jist as able to be sorry for Mr. Wilks for not arriving 
in time, all the same, if he's missed anything by it — 
which I hope he hasn't." 

"Well, he don't miss any property by it, because 
he'll get that all right; but he's missed seeing his 
brother Peter die — which he mayn't mind, nobody 
can tell as to that — but his brother would 'a' give 
anything in this world to see him before he died; 
never talked about nothing else all these three weeks ; 
hadn't seen him since they was boys together — and 
hadn't ever seen his brother William at all — that's 
the deef and dumb one — William ain't more than 
thirty or thirty-five. Peter and George were the 
only ones that come out here; George was the mar- 
ried brother; him and his wife both died last year. 
Harvey and William's the only ones that's left now; 
and, as I was saying, they haven't got here in time.'* 

"Did anybody send 'em word?" 

"Oh, yes; a month or two ago, when Peter was 
first took ; because Peter said then that he sorter felt 
like he wam't going to get well this time. You see, 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

he was pretty old, and George's g'yirls was too young 
to be much company for him, except Mary Jane, the 
red-headed one ; and so he was kinder lonesome after 
George and his wife died, and didn't seem to care 
much to live. He most desperately wanted to see 
Harvey — and William, too, for that matter — because 
he was one of them kind that can't bear to make a 
will. He left a letter behind for Harvey, and said 
he'd told in it where his money was hid, and how he 
wanted the rest of the property divided up so 
George's g'yirls would be all right — for George didn't 
leave nothing. And that letter was all they could get 
him to put a pen to." 

"Why do you reckon Harvey don't come? Wher' 
does he live?" 

*'0h, he lives in England — Sheffield — preaches 
there — ^hasn't ever been in this country. He hasn't 
had any too much time — and besides he mightn't 'a' 
got the letter at all, you know." 

"Too bad, too bad he couldn't 'a' lived to see his 
brothers, poor soul. You going to Orleans, you say?" 

"Yes, but that ain't only a part of it. I'm going 
in a ship, next Wednesday, for Ryo Janeero, where 
my uncle lives." 

* ' It's a pretty long journey. But it '11 be lovely ; I 
wisht I was a-going. Is Mary Jane the oldest ? How 
old is the others?" 

"Mary Jane's nineteen, Susan's fifteen, and Jo- 
anna's about fourteen — that's the one that gives her- 
self to good works and has a hare-lip." 

"Poor things! to be left alone in the cold world so." 

"Well, they could be worse off. Old Peter had 

221 



MARK TWAIN 

friends, and they ain't going to let them come to no 
harm. There's Hobson, the Babtis' preacher; and 
Deacon Lot Hovey, and Ben Rucker, and Abner 
Shackleford, and Levi Bell, the lawyer; and Dr. Rob- 
inson, and their wives, and the widow Bartley, and — 
well, there's a lot of them; but these are the ones that 
Peter was thickest with, and used to write about 
sometimes, when he wrote home; so Harvey '11 know 
where to look for friends when he gets here." 

Well, the old man went on asking questions till he 
just fairly emptied that young fellow. Blamed if he 
didn't inquire about everybody and everything in 
that blessed town, and all about the Wilkses; and 
about Peter's business — which was a tanner; and 
about George's — which was a carpenter; and about 
Harvey's — which was a dissentering minister; and 
so on, and so on. Then he says: 

"What did you want to walk all the way up to the 
steamboat for?" 

"Because she's a big Orleans boat, and I was 
afeard she mightn't stop there. When they're deep 
they won't stop for a hail. A Cincinnati boat will, 
but this is a St. Louis one." 

"Was Peter Wilks well off?" 

"Oh, yes, pretty well off. He had houses and 
land, and it's reckoned he left three or four thousand 
in cash hid up som'ers." 

"When did you say he died?" 
• "I didn't say, but it was last night." 

"Funeral to-morrow, likely?" 

"Yes, 'bout the middle of the day." 

"Well, it's all terrible sad; but we've all got to go, 

222 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

one time or another. So what we want to do is to be 
prepared; then we're all right." 

"Yes, sir, it's the best way. Ma used to always 
say that." 

When we struck the boat she was about done load- 
ing, and pretty soon she got off. The king never said 
nothing about going aboard, so I lost my ride, after 
all. When the boat was gone the king made me pad- 
dle up another mile to a lonesome place, and then he 
got ashore and says : 

' ' Now hustle back, right off, and fetch the duke up 
here, and the new carpet-bags. And if he's gone over 
to t'other side, go over there and git him. And tell 
him to git himself up regardless. Shove along, now." 

I see what he was up to; but I never said nothing, 
of course. When I got back with the duke we hid the 
canoe, and then they set down on a log, and the king 
told him everything, just like the young fellow had 
said it — every last word of it. And all the time he 
was a-doing it he tried to talk like an Englishman; 
and he done it pretty well, too, for a slouch. I can't 
imitate him, and so I ain't a-going to try to; but he 
really done it pretty good. Then he says : 

"How are you on the deef and dumb, Bilgewater?" 

The duke said, leave him alone for that; said he 
had played a deef and dumb person on the histrionic 
boards. So then they waited for a steamboat. 

About the middle of the afternoon a couple of little 
boats come along, but they didn't come from high 
enough up the river ; but at last there was a big one, 
and they hailed her. She sent out her yawl, and we 
went aboard, and she was from Cincinnati ; and when 

223 



MARK TWAIN 

they found we only wanted to go four or five mile 
they was booming mad, and gave us a cussing, and 
said they wouldn't land us. But the king was ca'm. 
He says: 

"If gentlemen kin afford to pay a dollar a mile 
apiece to be took on and put off in a 3^awl, a steam- 
boat kin afford to carry 'em, can't it?" 

vSo they softened down and said it was all right; 
and when we got to the village they yawled us ashore. 
About two dozen men flocked down when they see the 
yawl a-coming, and when the king says : 

** Kin any of you gentlemen tell me wher' Mr. Peter 
Wilks lives?" they give a glance at one another, and 
nodded their heads, as much as to say, "What 'd I 
tell you?" Then one of them says, kind of soft and 
gentle : 

"I'm sorry, sir, but the best we can do is to tell 
you where he did live yesterday evening." 

Sudden as winking the ornery old cretur went all 
to smash, and fell up against the man, and put his 
chin on his shoulder, and cried down his back, and 
says: 

"Alas, alas, our poor brother — gone, and we never 
got to see him; oh, it's too, too hard!" 

Then he turns around, blubbering, and makes a lot 
of idiotic signs to the duke on his hands, and blamed 
if he didn't drop a carpet-bag and bust out a-crying. 
If they warn' t the beatenest lot, them two frauds, 
that ever I struck. 

Well, the men gathered around and sympathized 
with them, and said all sorts of kind things to them, 
and carried their carpet-bags up the hill for them, and 

224 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

let them lean on them and cry, and told the king all 
about his brother's last moments, and the king he told 
it all over again on his hands to the duke, and both of 
them took on about that dead tanner like they'd lost 
the twelve disciples. Well, if ever I struck anything 
like it, I'm a nigger. It was enough to make a body 
ashamed of the human race. 



I 



CHAPTER XXV 

THE news was all over town in two minutes, and 
you could see the people tearing down on the 
run from every which way, some of them putting 
on their coats as they come. Pretty soon we was 
in the middle of a crowd, and the noise of the tramp- 
ing was like a soldier march. The windows and 
dooryards was full; and every miinute somebody 
would say, over a fence: 

''Is it themr' 

And somebody trotting along with the gang would 
answer back and say: 

"Youbet it is." 

When we got to the house the street in front of 
it was packed, and the three girls was standing in the 
door. Mary Jane was red-headed, but that don't 
make no difference, she was most awful beautiful, 
and her face and her eyes was all lit up like glory, 
she was so glad her uncles was come. The king he 
spread his arms, and Mary Jane she jumped for 
them, and the hare-lip jumped for the duke, and there 
they had it! Everybody most, leastways women, 
cried for joy to see them meet again at last and have 
such good times. 

Then the king he hunched the duke private — I see 
him do it — and then he looked around and see the 

226 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

coffin, over in the corner on two chairs; so then him 
and the duke, with a hand across each other's shoul- 
der, and t'other hand to their eyes, walked slow and 
solemn over there, everybody dropping back to 
give them, room, and all the talk and noise stopping, 
people saying '"Sh!" and all the men taking their 
hats off and drooping their heads, so you could 'a' 
heard a pin fall. And when they got there they 
bent over and looked in the coffin, and took one 
sight, and then they bust out a-crying so you could 
'a' heard them to Orleans, most; and then they put 
their arms around each other's necks, and hung 
their chins over each other's shoulders; and. then for 
three minutes, or maybe four, I never see two men 
leak the way they done. And, mind you, everybody 
was doing the same; and the place was that damp 
I never see anything like it. Then one of them got 
on one side of the coffin, and t'other on t'other side, 
and they kneeled down and rested their foreheads 
on the coffin, and let on to pray all to themselves. 
Well, when it come to that it worked the crowd like 
you never see anything like it, and everybody broke 
down and went to sobbing right out loud — the poor 
girls, too; and every woman, nearly, went up to the 
girls, without saying a word, and kissed them, 
solemn, on the forehead, and then put their hand 
on their head, and looked up towards the sky, with 
the tears running down, and then busted out and 
went off sobbing and swabbing, and give the next 
woman a show. I never see anything so disgusting. 
Well, by and by the king he gets up and comes 
forward a little, and works himself up and slobbers 

227 



MARK TWAIN 

out a speech, all full of tears and flapdoodle, about 
its being a sore trial for him and his poor brother 
to lose the diseased, and to miss seeing diseased 
alive after the long journey of four thousand mile, 
but it's a trial that's sweetened and sanctified to us 
by this dear sympathy and these holy tears, and so 
he thanks them out of his heart and out of his 
brother's heart, because out of their mouths they 
can't, words being too weak and cold, and all that 
kind of rot and slush, till it was just sickening; and 
then he blubbers out a pious goody-goody Amen, and 
turns himself loose and goes to crying fit to bust. 

And the minute the words were out of his mouth 
somebody over in the crowd struck up the doxolojer, 
and everybody joined in with all their might, and 
it just warmed you up and made you feel as good 
as church letting out. Music is sl good thing; and 
after all that soul-butter and hogwash I never see it 
freshen up things so, and sound so honest and bully. 

Then the king begins to work his jaw again, and 
says how him and his nieces would be glad if a few 
of the main principal friends of the family would 
take supper here with them this evening, and help 
set up with the ashes of the diseased; and says if 
his poor brother laying yonder could speak he knows 
who he would name, for they was names that was 
very dear to him, and mentioned often in his letters ; 
and so he will name the same, to wit, as follows, 
viz. : — Rev. Mr. Hobson, and Deacon Lot Hovey, 
and Mr. Ben Rucker, and Abner Shackleford, and 
Levi Bell, and Dr. Robinson, and their wives, and 
the widow Bartley. 

228 



I 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

Rev. Hobson and Dr. Robinson was down to the 
end of the town a-hunting together — that is, I mean 
the doctor was shipping a sick man to t'other world, 
and the preacher was pinting him right. Lawyer 
Bell was away up to Louisville on business. But the 
rest was on hand, and so they all come and shook 
hands with the king and thanked him and talked to 
him; and then they shook hands with the duke and 
didn't say nothing, but just kept a-smiling and 
bobbing their heads like a passel of sapheads whilst 
he made all sorts of signs with his hands and said 
** Goo-goo — goo-goo-goo" all the time, like a baby 
that can't talk. 

So the king he blattered along, and managed to 
inquire about pretty much everybody and dog in 
town, by his name, and mentioned all sorts of little 
things that happened one time or another in the 
town, or to George's family, or to Peter. And he 
always let on that Peter wrote him the things; but 
that was a lie: he got every blessed one of them out 
of that young flathead that we canoed up to the 
steamboat. 

Then Mary Jane she fetched the letter her father 
left behind, and the king he read it out loud and 
cried over it. It give the dwelling-house and three 
thousand dollars, gold, to the girls; and it give the 
tanyard (which was doing a good business), along 
with some other houses and land (worth about seven 
thousand), and three thousand dollars in gold to 
Harvey and William, and told where the six thou- 
sand cash was hid down cellar. So these two frauds 
said they'd go and fetch it up, and have everything 

229 



MARK TWAIN 

square and above-board; and told me to come with 
a candle. We shut the cellar door behind us, and 
when they found the bag they spilt it out on the 
floor, and it was a lovely sight, all them yaller-boys. 
My, the way the king's eyes did shine ! He slaps the 
duke on the shoulder and says: 

"Oh, this ain't bully nor noth'n ! Oh, no, I reckon 
not! Why, Biljy, it beats the Nonesuch, don't it?" 

The duke allowed it did. They pawed the yaller- 
boys, and sifted them through their fingers and let 
them jingle down on the floor ; and the king says : 

**It ain't no use talkin'; bein* brothers to a rich 
dead man and representatives of furrin heirs that's 
got left is the line for you and, me. Bilge. Thish yer 
comes of trust'n to Providence. It's the best way, 
in the long run. I've tried 'em all, and ther' ain't 
no better way." 

Most everybody would 'a' been satisfied with the 
pile, and took it on trust; but no, they must count 
it. So they counts it, and it comes out four hundred 
and fifteen dollars short. Says the king: 

* * Dern him, I wonder what he done with that four 
hundred and fifteen dollars?" 

They worried over that awhile, and ransacked all 
around for it. Then the duke says: 

"Well, he was a pretty sick man, and likely he 
made a mistake — I reckon that's the way of it. 
The best way's to let it go, and keep still about it. 
We can spare it." 

"Oh, shucks, yes, we can spare it. I don't k'yer 
noth'n 'bout that — it's the count I'm thinkin' about. 
We want to be awful square and open and above- 

230 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

board here, you know. We want to lug this h'yer 
money up-stairs and count it before everybody — then 
ther' ain't noth'n suspicious. But when the dead 
man says ther's six thous'n dollars, you know, we 
don't want to — " 

''Hold on," says the duke. "Le's make up the 
deffisit," and he begun to haul out yaller-boys out 
of his pocket. 

"It's a most amaz'n' good idea, duke — you have 
got a rattlin' clever head on you," says the king. 
"Blest if the old Nonesuch ain't a heppin' us out 
ag'in," and he begun to haul out yaller-iackets and 
stack them up. 

It most busted them, but they made up the six 
thousand clean and clear. 

"Say," says the duke, "I got another idea. Le's 
go up-stairs and count this money, and then take 
and give it to the girls." 

"Good land, duke, lemme hug you! It's the 
most dazzling idea 'at ever a man struck. You have 
cert'nly got the most astonishin' head I ever see. 
Oh, this is the boss dodge, ther' ain't no mistake 
'bout it. Let 'em fetch along their suspicions now 
if they want to — this '11 lay 'em out." 

When we got up-stairs everybody gethered around 
the table, and the king he counted it and stacked 
it up, three hundred dollars in a pile — twenty elegant 
little piles. Everybody looked hungry at it, and 
licked their chops. Then they raked it into the 
bag again, and I see the king begin to swell himself 
up for another speech. He says: 

"Friends all, my poor brother that lays yonder 
16 231 



MARK TWAIN 

has done generous by them that's left behind in the 
vale of sorrers. He has done generous by these yer 
poor little lambs that he loved and sheltered, and 
that's left fatherless and motherless. Yes, and we 
that knowed him knows that he would 'a' done more 
generous by 'em if he hadn't ben afeard o' woundin' 
his dear William and me. Now, wouldit't he? Ther' 
ain't no question 'bout it in my mind. Well, then, 
what kind o' brothers would it be that 'd stand in 
his way at sech a time? And what kind o' uncles 
would it be that 'd rob — ^yes, rob — sech poor sweet 
lambs as these 'at he loved so at sech a time? If I 
know William — and I think I do — he — well, I'll jest 
ask him." He turns around and begins to make a 
lot of signs to the duke with his hands, and the 
duke he looks at him stupid and leather-headed 
awhile; then all of a sudden he seems to catch his 
meaning, and jumps for the king, goo-gooing with 
all his might for joy, and hugs him about fifteen 
times before he lets up. Then the king says, "I 
knowed it; I reckon thai '11 convince anybody the 
way he feels about it. Here, Mary Jane, Susan, 
Joanner, take the money — take it all. It's the gift 
of him that lays yonder, cold but joyful." 

Mary Jane she went for him, Susan and the hare-lip 
went for the duke, and then such another hugging and 
kissing I never see yet. And everybody crowded up 
with the tears in their eyes, and most shook the hands 
off of them frauds, saying all the time: 

"You dear good souls! — ^how lovely! — how could 
you!" 

Well, then, pretty soon all hands got to talking 
232 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

about the diseased again, and how good he was, and 
what a loss he was, and all that ; and before long a big 
iron-jawed man worked himself in there from outside, 
and stood a-listening and looking, and not saying any- 
thing; and nobody saying anything to him either, 
because the king was talking and they was all busy 
listening. The king was saying — in the middle of 
something he'd started in on — 

** — they bein' partickler friends o' the diseased. 
That's why they're invited here this evenin' ; but to- 
morrow we want all to come — everybody; for he 
respected everybody, he liked everybody, and so it's 
fatten that his funeral orgies sh'd be public." 

And so he went a-mooning on and on, liking to hear 
himself talk, and every little while he fetched in his 
funeral orgies again, till the duke he couldn't stand it 
no more; so he writes on a little scrap of paper, 
*' Obsequies, you old fool," and folds it up, and goes 
to goo-gooing and reaching it over people's heads to 
him. The king he reads it and puts it in his pocket, 
and says: 

"Poor WilHam, afflicted as he is, his heart's aluz 
right. Asks me to invite everybody to come to the 
funeral — wants me to make 'em all welcome. But he 
needn't 'a' worried — it was jest what I was at." 

Then he weaves along again, prefectly ca'm, and 
goes to dropping in his funeral orgies again every now 
and then, just like he done before. And when he 
done it the third time he says: 

**I say orgies, not because it's the common term, 
because it ain't — obsequies bein' the common term — 
but because orgies is the right term. Obsequies ain't 

^33 



MARK TWAIN 

used in England no more now — it's gone out. We 
say orgies now in England. Orgies is better, because 
it means the thing you're after more exact. It's a 
word that's made up out'n the Greek orgo, outside, 
open, abroad; and the Hebrew jeesum, to plant, cover 
up; hence in^^r. So, you see, funeral orgies is an 
open er public funeral." 

He was the worst I ever struck. Well, the iron- 
jawed man he laughed right in his face. Everybody 
was shocked. Everybody says, *'Why, doctor!'' and 
Abner Shackleford says: 

"Why, Robinson, hain't you heard the news? This 
is Harvey Wilks." 

The king he smiled eager, and shoved out his 
flapper, and says : 

**l5 it my poor brother's dear good friend and phy- 
sician? I — " 

"Keep your hands off me!" says the doctor. 
''You talk like an Englishman, don't you? It's the 
worst imitation I ever heard. You Peter Wilks's 
brother! You're a fraud, that's what you are!" 

Well, how they all took on ! They crowded around 
the doctor and tried to quiet him down, and tried to 
explain to him and tell him how Harvey's showed in 
forty ways that he was Harvey, and knowed every- 
body by name, and the names of the very dogs, and 
begged and begged him not to hurt Harvey's feelings 
and the poor girls' feelings, and all that. But it 
warn't no use; he stormed right along, and said any 
man that pretended to be an EngHshman and 
couldn't imitate the lingo no better than what he 
did was a fraud and a liar. The poor girls was hang- 

?34 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

ing to the king and cr^dng; and all of a sudden the 
doctor ups and turns on them. He says: 

"I was your father's friend, and I'm your friend; 
and I warn you as a friend, and an honest one that 
wants to protect you and keep you out of harm and 
trouble, to turn your backs on that scoundrel and 
have nothing to do with him, the ignorant tramp, 
with his idiotic Greek and Hebrew, as he calls it. 
He is the thinnest kind of an impostor — has come 
here with a lot of empty names and facts which he 
picked up somewheres; and you take them for 
proofs, and are helped to fool yourselves by these 
foolish friends here, who ought to know better. 
Mary Jane Wilks, you know me for your friend, and 
for your unselfish friend, too. Now listen to me; 
turn this pitiful rascal out — I beg you to do it. 
Will you?" 

Mary Jane straightened herself up, and my, but 
she was handsome! She says: 

''Here is my answer." She hove up the bag of 
money and put it in the king's hands, and says, 
"Take this six thousand dollars, and invest for me 
and my sisters any way you want to, and don't give 
us no receipt for it." 

Then she put her arm around the king on one side, 
and Susan and the hare-lip done the same on the 
other. Everybody clapped their hands and stomped 
on the floor like a perfect storm, whilst the king 
held up his head and smiled proud. The doctor 
says: 

* * All right ; I wash my hands of the matter. But I 
warn you all that a time's coming when you're going 

235 



MARK TWAIN 

to feel sick whenever you think of this day." And 
away he went. 

"All right, doctor," says the king, kinder mocking 
him ; ' ' we'll try and get 'em to send for you ' ' ; which 
made them all laugh, and they said it was a prime 
good hit. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

WELL, when they was all gone the king he asks 
Mary Jane how they was off for spare rooms, 
and she said she had one spare room, which would do 
for Uncle William, and she'd give her own room to 
Uncle Harvey, which was a little bigger, and she 
would turn into the room with her sisters and sleep 
on a cot; and up garret was a little cubby, with a 
pallet in it. The king said the cubby would do for 
his valley — meaning me. 

So Mary Jane took us up, and she showed them 
their rooms, which was plain but nice. She said she'd 
have her frocks and a lot of other traps took out of 
her room if they was in Uncle Harvey's way, but he 
said they warn't. The frocks was hung along the 
wall, and before them was a curtain made out of 
caHco that hung down to the floor. There was an 
old hair trunk in one corner, and a guitar-box in 
another, and all sorts of little knickknacks and jim- 
cracks around, like girls brisken up a room with. 
The king said it was all the more homely and more 
pleasanter for these fixings, and so don't disturb 
them. The duke's room was pretty small, but 
plenty good enough, and so was my cubby. 

That night they had a big supper, and all them men 
and women was there, and I stood behind the king 

237 



MARK TWAIN 

and the duke's chairs and waited on them, and the 
niggers waited on the rest. Mary Jane she set at the 
head of the table, with Susan alongside of her, and 
said how bad the biscuits was, and how mean the pre- 
serves was, and how ornery and tough the fried chick- 
ens was — and all that kind of rot, the way women al- 
ways do for to force out compliments ; and the people 
all knowed everything was tiptop, and said so — said 
**How do you get biscuits to brown so nice?" and 
"Where, for the land's sake, did you get these amaz'n 
pickles?" and all that kind of humbug talky-talk, just 
the way people always does at a supper, you know. 

And when it was all done me and the hare-lip had 
supper in the kitchen off of the leavings, whilst the 
others was helping the niggers clean up the things. 
The hare-lip she got to pumping me about England, 
and blest if I didn't think the ice was getting mighty 
thin sometimes. She says: 
"Did you ever see the king?" 
"Who? WilHam Fourth? Well, I bet I have— he 
goes to our church." I knowed he was dead years 
ago, but I never let on. So when I says he goes to 
our church, she says: 
' ' What— regular ? ' ' 

"Yes — regular. His pew's right over opposite 
ourn — on t'other side the pulpit." 
"I thought he lived in London?" 
"Well, he does. Where would he live?" 
"But I thought you lived in Sheffield?" 
I see I was up a stump. I had to let on to get 
choked with a chicken-bone, so as to get time to 
think how to get down again. Then I says : 

238 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

"I mean he goes to our church regular when he's in 
Sheffield. That's only in the summer-time, when he 
comes there to take the sea baths." 

"Why, how you talk — Sheffield ain't on the sea." 

"Well, who said it was?" 

"Why, you did." 

"I didn't, nuther." 

"You did!" 

"I didn't." 

"You did." 

"I never said nothing of the kind." 

"Well, what did you say, then?" 

"Said he come to take the sea baths — that's what I 
said." 

"Well, then, how's he going to take the sea baths 
if it ain't on the sea?" 

Looky here, ' ' I says ; ' ' did you ever see any Con- 
gress-water?" 

"Yes." 

"Well, did 3^ou have to go to Congress to get it?" 

"Why, no." 

"Well, neither does William Fourth have to go to 
the sea to get a sea bath." 

"How does he get it, then?" 
Gets it the way people down here gets Congress- 
water — in barrels. There in the palace at Sheffield 
they've got furnaces, and he wants his water hot. 
They can't bile that amount of water away off there 
at the sea. They haven't got no conveniences for 
it." 

"Oh, I see, now. You might 'a' said that in the 
first place and saved time." 

239 



MARK TWAIN 

When she said that I see I was out of the woods 
again, and so I was comfortable and glad. Next, she 
says : 

"Do you go to church, too?" 

"Yes — regular." 

"Where do you set?" 

"Why, in our pew." 

''Whose pew?" 

"Why, oum — your Uncle Harvey's." 

"His'n? What does he want with a pew?" 

"Wants it to set in. What did you reckon he 
wanted with it?" 

"Why, I thought he'd be in the pulpit." 

Rot him, I forgot he was a preacher. I see I was 
up a stump again, so I played another chicken -bone 
and got another think. Then I says : 
■ "Blame it, do you suppose there ain't but one 
preacher to a church?" 

"Why, what do they want with more?" 

"What! — to preach before a king? I never did 
see such a girl as you. They don't have no less than 
seventeen." 

"Seventeen! My land! Why, I wouldn't set out 
such a string as that, not if I never got to glory. It 
must take 'em a week." 

"Shucks, they don't all of 'em preach the same 
day — only one of 'em." 

"Well, then, what does the rest of 'em do?" 

"Oh, nothing much. Loll around, pass the plate 
— and one thing or another. But mainly they don't 
do nothing." 

"Well, then, what are they /or f" 
240 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

"Why, they're for style. Don't you know noth- 
ing?" 

"Well, I don't want to know no such foolishness as 
that. How is servants treated in England? Do they 
treat 'em better 'n we treat our niggers?" 

''No! A servant ain't nobody there. They treat 
them worse than dogs." 

"Don't they give 'em holidays, the way we do, 
Christmas and New Year's week, and Fourth of 
July?" ^ 

" Oh, just listen ! A body could tell you hain't ever 
been to England by that. Why, Hare-1 — why, Jo- 
anna, they never see a holiday from year's end to 
year's end; never go to the circus, nor theater, nor 
nigger shows, nor nowheres." 

"Nor church?" 

"Nor church." 

"But you always went to church." 

Well, I was gone up again. I forgot I was the old 
man's servant. But next minute I whirled in on a 
kind of an explanation how a valley was different 
from a common servant, and had to go to church 
whether he wanted to or not, and set with the family, 
on account of its being the law. But I didn't do it 
pretty good, and when I got done I see she warn't 
satisfied. She says: 

"Honest injun, now, hain't you been telling me a 
lot of lies?" 

"Honest injun," says I. 

"Noneof it at all?" 

"None of it at all. Not a lie in it," says I. 

"Lay your hand on this book and say it." 
241 



MARK TWAIN 

I see it warn't nothing but a dictionary, so I laid my 
hand on it and said it. So then she looked a little 
better satisfied, and says: 

"Well, then, I'll believe some of it; but I hope to 
gracious if I'll believe the rest." 

"What is it you won't believe, Jo?" says Mary 
Jane, stepping in with vSusan behind her. "It ain't 
right nor kind for you to talk so to him, and him a 
stranger and so far from his people. How would you 
like to be treated so?" 

"That's always your way. Maim — always sailing 
in to help somebody before the^^'re hurt. I hain't 
done nothing to him. He's told some stretchers, I 
reckon, and I said I wouldn't swallow it all; and 
that's every bit and grain I did say. I reckon he can 
stand a little thing like that, can't he?" 

"I don't care whether 'twas little or whether 'twas 
big; he's here in our house and a stranger, and it 
wasn't good of you to sa}^ it. If you was in his place 
it would make you feel ashamed ; and so you oughtn't 
to say a thing to another person that will make them 
feel ashamed." 

"Why, Maim, he said—" 

"It don't make no difference what he said — that 
ain't the thing. The thing is for you to treat him 
kind, and not be saying things to make him remember 
he ain't in his own country and amongst his own 
folks." 

I says to myself, this is a girl that I'm letting that 
old reptile rob her of her money! 

Then Susan she waltzed in; and if you'll believe 
me, she did give Hare-lip hark from the tomb! 

242 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

Says I to myself, and this is another one that I'm 
letting him rob her of her money! 

Then Mary Jane she took another inning, and went 
in sweet and lovety again — which was her way ; but 
when she got done there warn't hardly anything left 
o' poor Hare-lip. So she hollered. 

"All right, then," says the other girls; "you just 
ask his pardon." 

vShe done it, too; and she done it beautiful. She 
done it so beautiful it was good to hear ; and I wished 
I could tell her a thousand lies, so she could do it 
again. 

I says to myself, this is another one that I'm letting 
him rob her of her money. And when she got through 
they all jest laid their selves out to make me feel at 
home and know I was amongst friends. I felt so 
ornery and low down and mean that I says to myself, 
my mind's made up; I'll hive that money for them 
or bust. 

So then I lit out — for bed, I said, meaning some 
time or another. When I got by myself I went to 
thinking the thing over. I says to myself, shall I go 
to that doctor, private, and blow on these frauds? 
No — that won't do. He might tell who told him; 
then the king and the duke would make it warm for 
me. Shall I go, private, and tell Mary Jane? No — 
I dasn't do it. Her face would give them a hint, 
sure; they've got the money, and they'd slide right 
out and get away with it. If she was to fetch in help 
I'd get mixed up in the business before it was done 
with, I judge. No; there ain't no good way but one. 
I got to steal that money, somehow; and I got to 

243 



MARK TWAIN 

steal it some way that they won't suspicion that I 
done it. They've got a good thing here, and they 
ain't a-going to leave till they've played this family 
and this town for all they're worth, so I'll find a 
chance time enough. I'll steal it and hide it; and 
by and by, when I'm away down the river, I'll write 
a letter and tell Mary Jane where it's hid. But I 
better hive it to-night if I can, because the doctor 
maybe hasn't let up as much as he lets on he has; 
he might scare them out of here yet. 

So, thinks I, I'll go and search them rooms. Up- 
stairs the hall was dark, but I found the duke's room, 
and started to paw around it with my hands; but I 
recollected it wouldn't be much like the king to let 
an^^body else take care of that money but his own self ; 
so then I went to his room and begun to paw around 
there. But I see I couldn't do nothing without a 
candle, and I dasn't light one, of course. So I judged 
I'd got to do the other thing — lay for them and eaves- 
drop. About that time I hears their footsteps 
coming, and was going to skip under the bed; I 
reached for it, but it wasn't where I thought it would 
be ; but I touched the curtain that hid Mary Jane's 
frocks, so I jumped in behind that and snuggled in 
amongst the gowns, and stood there perfectly still. 

They come in and shut the door; and the first 
thing the duke done was to get down and look under 
the bed. Then I was glad I hadn't found the bed ■ 
when I wanted it. And yet, you know, it's kind of 5 
natural to hide under the bed when you are up to 
anything private. They sets down then, and the 
king says : 

2 44 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

**Well, what is it? And cut it middlin' short, be- 
cause it's better for us to be down there a-whoopin* 
up the mournin' than up here givin' 'em a chance to 
talk us over." 

"Well, this is it, Capet. I ain't easy; I ain't com- 
fortable. That doctor lays on my mind. I wanted to 
know your plans. I've got a notion, and I think it's 
a sound one." 

"What is it, duke?" 

"That we better glide out of this before three in 
the morning, and clip it down the river with what 
we've got. Specially, seeing we got it so easy — given 
back to us, flung at our heads, as you may say, when 
of course we allowed to have to steal it back. I'm for 
knocking off and lighting out." 

That made me feel pretty bad. About an hour or 
two ago it would 'a' been a little different, but now it 
made me feel bad and disappointed. The king rips 
out and says : 

* ' What ! And not sell out the rest o' the property ? 
March off like a passel of fools and leave eight or nine 
thous'n' dollars' worth o' property layin' around jest 
sufferin' to be scooped in? — and all good, salable 
stuff, too." 

The duke he grumbled; said the bag of gold was 
enough, and he didn't want to go no deeper — didn't 
want to rob a lot of orphans of everything they had. 

"Why, how you talk!" says the king. "We 
sha'n't rob 'em of nothing at all but jest this money. 
The people that buys the property is the suff'rers; 
because as soon 's it's found out 'at we didn't own 
it — which won't be long after we've slid — the sale 

245 



MARK TWAIN 

won't be valid, and it '11 all go back to the estate. 
These yer orphans '11 git their house back ag'in, and 
that's enough for them; they're young and spry, and 
k'n easy earn a livin'. They ain't a-goin' to suffer. 
Why, jest think — there's thous'n's and thous'n's that 
ain't nigh so well off. Bless you, they ain't got noth'n' 
to complain of." 

Well, the king he talked him blind; so at last he 
give in, and said all right, but said he believed it 
was blamed foolishness to stay, and that doctor 
hanging over them. But the king says: 

*'Cuss the doctor! What do we k'yer for him? 
Hain't we got all the fools in town on our side? 
And ain't that a big enough majority in any town?" 

So they got ready to go down-stairs again. The 
duke says: 

"I don't think we put that money in a good place." 

That cheered me up. I'd begun to think I warn't 
going to get a hint of no kind to help me. The king 
says : 

''Why?" 

"Because Mary Jane '11 be in mourning from this 
out; and first you know the nigger that does up the 
rooms will get an order to box these duds up and 
put 'em away ; and do you reckon a nigger can run 
across money and not borrow some of it?" 

"Your head's level ag'in, duke," says the king; and 
he comes a-fumbling under the curtain two or three 
foot from where I was. I stuck tight to the wall 
and kept mighty still, though qui very; and I won- 
dered what them fellows would say to me if they 
catched me; and I tried to think what I'd better do 

246 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

if they did catch me. But the king he got the bag 
before I could think more than about a half a 
thought, and he never suspicioned I was around. 
They took and shoved the bag through a rip in the 
straw tick that was under the feather-bed, and 
crammed it in a foot or two amongst the straw and 
said it was all right now, because a nigger only makes 
up the feather-bed, and don't turn over the straw 
tick only about twice a year, and so it wam't in no 
danger of getting stole now. 

But I knowed better. I had it out of there before 
they was half-way down-stairs. I groped along up 
to my cubby, and hid it there till I could get a 
chance to do better. I judged I better hide it out- 
side of the house somewheres, because if they missed 
it they would give the house a good ransacking: I 
knowed that very well. Then I turned in, with 
my clothes all on; but I couldn't 'a' gone to sleep if 
I'd 'a' wanted to, I was in such a sweat to get through 
with the business. By and by I heard the king and 
the duke come up; so I rolled off my pallet and laid 
with my chin at the top of my ladder, and waited 
to see if anything was going to happen. But nothing 
did. 

So I held on till all the late sounds had quit and 
the early ones hadn't begun yet; and then I slipped 
down the ladder. 



CHAPTER XXVII 

I CREPT to their doors and listened; they was 
snoring. So I tiptoed along, and got down- 
stairs all right. There warn't a sound anywheres. 
I peeped through a crack of the dining-room door, 
and see the men that was watching the corpse all 
sound asleep on their chairs. The door was open 
into the parlor, where the corpse was laying, and 
there was a candle in both rooms. I passed along, 
and the parlor door was open ; but I see there warn't 
nobody in there btit the remainders of Peter; so I 
shoved on by; but the front door was locked, and 
the key wasn't there. Just then I heard somebody 
coming down the stairs, back behind me. I run in 
the parlor and took a swift look around, and the 
only place I see to hide the bag was in the coffin. 
The lid was shoved along about a foot, showing the 
dead man's face down in there, with a wet cloth 
over it, and his shroud on. I tucked the money- 
bag in under the lid, just down beyond where his 
hands was crossed, which made me creep, they was 
so cold, and then I run back across the room and in 
behind the door. 

The person coming was Mary Jane. She went to 
the coffin, very soft, and kneeled down and looked 
in; then she put up her handkerchief, and I see she 

248 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

begun to cry, though I couldn't hear her, and her 
back was to me. I sHd out, and as I passed the 
dining-room I thought I'd make sure them watchers 
hadn't seen me; so I looked through the crack, and 
.everything was all right. They hadn't stirred. 

I slipped up to bed, feeling ruther blue, on accounts 
of the thing playing out that way after I had took 
so much trouble and run so much resk about it. 
Says I, if it could stay where it is, all right; because 
when we get down the river a hundred mile or two 
I could write back to Mary Jane, and she could dig 
him up again and get it; but that ain't the thing 
that's going to happen; the thing that's going to 
happen is, the money '11 be found when they come 
to screw on the lid. Then the king '11 get it again, 
and it '11 be a long day before he gives anybody 
another chance to smouch it from him. Of course 
I wanted to slide down and get it out of there, but I 
dasn't try it. Every minute it was getting earlier 
now, and pretty soon some of them watchers would 
begin to stir, and I might get catched — catched 
with six thousand dollars in my hands that nobody 
hadn't hired me to take care of. I don't wish to be 
mixed up in no such business as that, I says to 
myself. 

When I got down-stairs in the morning the parlor 
was shut up, and the watchers was gone. There 
wam't nobody around but the family and the widow 
Bartley and our tribe. I watched their faces to see 
if anything had been happening, but I couldn't tell. 

Towards the middle of the day the undertaker 
come with his man, and they set the coffin in the 

249 



MARK TWAIN 

middle of the room on a couple of chairs, and then 
set all our chairs in rows, and borrowed more from 
the neighbors till the hall and the parlor and the 
dining-room was full. I see the coffin lid was the 
way it was before, but I dasn't go to look in under, 
it, with folks around. 

Then the people begun to flock in, and the beats 
and the girls took seats in the front row at the head 
of the coffin, and for a half an hour the people filed 
around slow, in single rank, and looked down at the 
dead man's face a minute, and some dropped in a 
tear, and it was all very still and solemn, only the 
girls and the beats holding handkerchiefs to their 
eyes and keeping their heads bent, and sobbing a 
little. There warn't no other sound but the scraping 
of the feet on the floor and blowing noses — because 
people always blows them more at a funeral than 
they do at other places except church. 

When the place was packed full the undertaker he 
slid around in his black gloves with his softy soother- 
ing ways, putting on the last touches, and getting 
people and things all ship-shape and comfortable, 
and making no more sound than a cat. He never 
spoke; he moved people around, he squeezed in late 
ones, he opened up passageways, and done it with 
nods, and signs with his hands. Then he took his 
place over against the wall. He was the softest, 
glidingest, stealthiest man I ever see; and there 
warn't no more smile to him than there is to a ham. 

They had borrowed a melodeum — a sick one; and 
when everything was ready a young woman set down 
^^nd worked it, and it was pretty skreeky and colicky, 

255 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

and everybody joined in and sung, and Peter was 
the only one that had a good thing, according to my 
notion. Then the Reverend Hobson opened up, 
slow and solemn, and begun to talk; and straight off 
the most outrageous row busted out in the cellar a 
body ever heard; it was only one dog, but he made 
a most powerful racket, and he kept it up right along; 
the parson he had to stand there, over the coffin, and 
wait — you couldn't hear yourself think. It was 
right down awkward, and nobody didn't seem to 
know what to do. But pretty soon they see that 
long-legged undertaker make a sign to the preacher 
as much as to say, "Don't you worry— just depend 
on me." Then he stooped down and begun to glide 
along the wall, just his shoulders showing over the 
people's heads. So he glided along, and the powwow 
and racket getting more and more outrageous all the 
time; and at last, when he had gone around two sides 
of the room, he disappears down cellar. Then in 
about two seconds we heard a whack, and the dog 
he finished up with a most amazing howl or two, and 
then everything was dead still, and the parson begun 
his solemn talk where he left off. In a minute or two 
here comes this undertaker's back and shoulders 
gliding along the wall again; and so he glided and 
glided around three sides of the room, and then rose 
up, and shaded his mouth with his hands, and 
stretched his neck out towards the preacher, over the 
people's heads, and says, in a kind of a coarse whis- 
per, ''He had a rat!'' Then he drooped down and 
glided along the wall again to his place. You could 
see it was a great satisfaction to the people, because 

251 



MARK TWAIN 

naturally they wanted to know. A little thing like 
that don't cost nothing, and it's just the little things 
that makes a man to be looked up to and liked. 
There warn't no more popular man in town than 
what that undertaker was. 

Well, the funeral sermon was very good, but pison 
long and tiresome; and then the king he shoved in 
and got off some of his usual rubbage, and at last 
the job was through, and the undertaker begun to 
sneak up on the coffin with his screw-driver. I was 
in a sweat then, and watched him pretty keen. But 
he never meddled at all; just slid the lid along as 
soft as mush, and screwed it down tight and fast. 
So there I was! I didn't know whether the money 
was in there or not. So, says I, s'pose somebody has 
hogged that bag on the sly? — now how do I know 
whether to write to Mary Jane or not? S'pose she 
dug him up and didn't find nothing, what would she 
think of me? Blame it, I says, I might get hunted 
up and jailed; I'd better lay low and keep dark, and 
not write at all; the thing's awful mixed now; trying 
to better it, I've worsened it a hundred times, and I 
wish to goodness I'd just let it alone, dad fetch the 
whole business! 

They buried him, and we come back home, and I 
went to watching faces again — I couldn't help it, and 
I couldn't rest easy. But nothing come of it; the 
faces didn't tell me nothing. 

The king he visited around in the evening, and 
sweetened everybody up, and made himself ever so 
friendly; and he give out the idea that his congre- 
gation over in England would be in a sweat about 

252 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

him, so he must hurry and settle up the estate right 
away and leave for home. He was very sorry he was 
so pushed, and so was everybody; they wished he 
could stay longer, but they said they could see it 
couldn't be done. And he said of course him and 
William would take the girls home with them; and 
that pleased everybody too, because then the girls 
would be well fixed and amongst their own relations ; 
and it pleased the girls, too — tickled them so they 
clean forgot they ever had a trouble in the world; 
and told him to sell out as quick as he wanted to, 
they would be ready. Them poor things was that 
glad and happy it made my heart ache to see them 
getting fooled and lied to so, but I didn't see no safe 
way for me to chip in and change the general tune. 

Well, blamed if the king didn't bill the house and 
the niggers and all the property for auction straight 
off — sale two days after the funeral; but anybody 
could buy private beforehand if they wanted to. 

So the next day after the funeral, along about noon- 
time, the girls' joy got the first jolt. A couple of 
nigger-traders come along, and the king sold them the 
niggers reasonable, for three-day drafts as they called 
it, and away they went, the two sons up the river to 
Memphis, and their mother down the river to 
Orleans. I thought them poor girls and them niggers 
would break their hearts for grief ; they cried around 
each other, and took on so it most made me down 
sick to see it. The girls said they hadn't ever 
dreamed of seeing the family separated or sold away 
from the town. I can't ever get it out of my memory, 
the sight of them poor miserable girls and niggers 

253 



MARK TWAIN 

hanging around each other's necks and crying; and 
I reckon I couldn't 'a' stood it all, but would 'a' had 
to bust out and tell on our gang if I hadn't knowed 
the sale warn't no account and the niggers would be 
back home in a week or two. 

The thing made a big stir in the town, too, and a 
good many come out flatfooted and said it was scan- 
dalous to separate the mother and the children that 
way. It injured the frauds some; but the old fool 
he bulled right along, spite of all the duke could say 
or do, and I tell you the duke was powerful uneasy. 

Next day w^as auction day. About broad day in 
the morning the king and the duke come up in the 
garret and woke me up, and I see by their look that 
there was trouble. The king says: 

"Was you in my room night before last?" 

"No, your majesty" — which was the way I al- 
ways called him when nobody but our gang warn't 
around. 

"Was you in there yisterday er last night?" 

"No, your majesty." 

"Honor bright, now — no lies." 

"Honor bright, your majesty, I'm telling you the 
truth. I hain't been a-near your room since Miss 
Mary Jane took you and the duke and showed it to 
you." 

The duke says: 

"Have you seen anybody else go in there?" 

"No, your grace, not as I remember, I believe." 

"Stop and think." 

I studied awhile and see my chance; then I says: 

"Well, I see the niggers go in there several times." 
254 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

Both of them gave a Httle jump, and looked Hke 
they hadn't ever expected it, and then hke they had. 
Then the duke says : 

"What, a// of them?" 

"No — leastways, not all at once — that is, I don't 
think I ever see them all come out at once but just one 
time." 

"Hello! When was that?" 

* * It was the day we had the funeral. In the morn- 
ing. It warn't early, because I overslept. I was 
just starting down the ladder, and I see them." 

"Well, go on, go on! What did they do? How'd 
they act?" 

"They didn't do nothing. And they didn't act 
anyway much, as fur as I see. They tiptoed away; 
so I seen, easy enough, that they'd shoved in there to 
do up your majesty's room, or something, s'posing 
you was up; and found you warn't up, and so they 
was hoping to slide out of the way of trouble without 
waking you up, if they hadn't already waked you 
up." 

"Great guns, this is a go!" says the king; and 
both of them looked pretty sick and tolerable silly. 
They stood there a-thinking and scratching their 
heads a minute, and the duke he bust into a kind of a 
little raspy chuckle, and says: 

' ' It does beat all how neat the niggers played their 
hand. They let on to be sorry they was going out of 
this region! And I believed they was sorry, and so 
did you, and so did everybody. Don't ever tell me 
any more that a nigger ain't got any histrionic talent. 
Why, the way they played that thing it would fool 

255 



MARK TWAIN 

anybody. In my opinion, there's a fortune in 'em. 
If I had capital and a theater, I wouldn't want a 
better lay-out than that — and here we've gone and 
sold 'em for a song. Yes, and ain't privileged to sing 
the song yet. Say, where is that song — that draft?" 

* ' In the bank for to be collected. Where would it 
be?" 

''Well, that's all right then, thank goodness." 

Says I, kind of timid-like: 

"Is something gone wrong?" 

The king whirls on me and rips out: 

*'None o' your business! You keep your head 
shet, and mind y'r own affairs — if you got any. 
Long as you're in this town don't you forgit that — 
you hear?" Then he says to the duke, "We got to 
jest swaller it and say noth'n' : mum's the word for 
usr 

As they was starting down the ladder the duke he 
chuckles again, and says : 

"Quick sales arid small profits! It's a good busi- 
ness — yes." 

The king snarls around on him and says: 

"I was trying to do for the best in sellin' 'em out 
so quick. If the profits has turned out to be none, 
lackin' considable, and none to carry, is it my fault 
any more'n it's yourn?" 

"Well, they'd be in this house yet and we wouldn't 
if I could 'a' got my advice listened to." 

The king sassed back as much as was safe for him, 
and then swapped around and lit into me again. He 
give me down the banks for not coming and telling 
him I see the niggers come out of his room acting that 

256 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

way — said any fool would 'a' knowed something was 
up. And then waltzed in and cussed himself awhile, 
and said it all come of him not laying late and taking 
his natural rest that morning, and he'd be blamed if 
he'd ever do it again. So they went off a-jawing; 
and I felt dreadful glad I'd worked it all off onto 
the niggers, and yet hadn't done the niggers no 
harm by it. 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

BY and by it was getting-up time. So I come 
down the ladder and started for down-stairs; 
but as I come to the girls' room the door was open, 
and I see Mary Jane setting by her old hair trunk, 
which was open and she'd been packing things in it 
— getting ready to go to England. But she had 
stopped now with a folded gown in her lap, and had 
her face in her hands, crying. I felt awful bad to 
see it; of course anybody would. I went in there 
and says: 

"Miss Mary Jane, you can't a-bear to see people 
in trouble, and / can't — most always. Tell me 
about it." 

So she done it. And it was the niggers — I just 
expected it. She said the beautiful trip to England 
was most about spoiled for her ; she didn't know how 
she was ever going to be happy there, knowing the 
mother and the children warn't ever going to see 
each other no more — and then busted out bitterer 
than ever, and flung up her hands, and says: 

"Oh, dear, dear, to think they ain't ever going to 
see each other any more!" 

"But they will — and inside of two weeks — and I 
know it!" says I. 

Laws, it was out before I could think ! And before 
2S8 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

I could budge she throws her arms around my neck 
and told me to say it again, say it again, say it again! 

I see I had spoke too sudden and said too much, 
and was in a close place. I asked her to let me think 
a minute ; and she set there, very impatient and ex- 
cited and handsome, but looking kind of happy and 
eased-up, like a person that's had a tooth pulled out. 
So I went to studying it out. I says to myself, I 
reckon a body that ups and tells the truth when he is 
in a tight place is taking considerable many resks, 
though I ain't had no experience, and can't say for 
certain; but it looks so to me, anyway; and yet 
here's a case w^here I'm blest if it don't look to me 
like the truth is better and actuly safer than a lie. 
I must lay it by in my mind, and think it over some 
time or other, it's so kind of strange and unregular. 
I never see nothing like it. Well, I says to myself 
at last, I'm a-going to chance it; I'll up and tell the 
truth this time, though it does seem most like setting 
down on a kag of powder and touching it off just to 
see where you'll go to. Then I says: 

''Miss Mary Jane, is there any place out of town a 
little ways where you could go and stay three or four 
days?" 

"Yes; Mr. Lothrop's. Why?" 

* ' Never mind why yet. If I'll tell you how I know 
the niggers will see each other again — inside of two 
weeks—here in this house — and prove how I know 
it — ^will you go to Mr. Lothrop's and stay four days ?" 

"Four days!" she says; "I'll stay a year!" 

"All right," I says, "I don't want nothing more 
out of you than just your word — I druther have it 

259 



MARK TWAIN 

than another man's kiss-the-Bible. ' ' She smiled and 
reddened up very sweet, and I says, "If you don't 
mind it, I'll shut the door — and bolt it." 

Then I come back and set down again, and says : 

"Don't you holler. Just set still and take it like a 
man. I got to tell the truth, and you want to brace 
up. Miss Mary, because it's a bad kind, and going to 
be hard to take, but there ain't no help for it. These 
uncles of yourn ain't no uncles at all ; they're a couple 
of frauds — regular dead-beats. There, now we're over 
the worst of it, you can stand the rest middling easy." 

It jolted her up like everything, of course; but I 
was over the shoal water now, so I went right along, 
her eyes a-blazing higher and higher all the time, and 
told her every blame thing, from where we first struck 
that young fool going up to the steamboat, clear 
through to where she flung herself onto the king's 
breast at the front door and he kissed her sixteen or 
seventeen times — and then up she jumps, with her 
face afire like sunset, and says: 

"The brute! Come, don't waste a minute — not a 
second — we'll have them tarred and feathered, and 
flung in the river!" 

Says I: 

' * Cert'nly . But do you mean before you go to Mr. 
Lothrop's, or — " 

"Oh," she says, "what am I thinking about!'* 
she says, and set right down again. "Don't mind 
what I said — please don't — you won't, now, will 
you?" Laying her silky hand on mine in that kind 
of a way that I said- I would die first. "I never 
thought, I was so stirred up," she says; "now go on, 

260 

li 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

and I won't do so any more. You tell me what to do, 
and whatever you say I'll do it." 

"Well," I says, "it's a rough gang, them two 
frauds, and I'm fixed so I got to travel with them a 
while longer, whether I want to or not — I druther not 
tell you why; and if you was to blow on them this 
town would get me out of their claws, and I'd be all 
right; but there'd be another person that you don't 
know about who'd be in big trouble. Well, we got 
to save him, hain't we? Of course. Well, then, we 
won't blow on them." 

Saying them words put a good idea in my head. I 
see how maybe I could get me and Jim rid of the 
frauds; get them jailed here, and then leave. But I 
didn't want to run the raft in the daytime without 
anybody aboard to answer questions but me; so I 
didn't want the plan to begin working till pretty late 
to-night. I says: 

"Miss Mary Jane, I'll tell you what we'll do, and 
you won't have to stay at Mr. Lothrop's so long, 
nuther. How fur is it?" 

"A little short of four miles — right out in the 
country, back here." 

"Well, that '11 answer. Now you go along out 
there, and lay low till nine or half past to-night, and 
then get them to fetch you home again — tell them 
you've thought of something. If you get here before 
eleven put a candle in this window, and if I don't 
turn up wait till eleven, and then if I don't turn up it 
means I'm gone, and out of the way, and safe. Then 
you come out and spread the news around, and get 
these beats jailed." 

261 



MARK TWAIN 

"Good," she says, "I'll do it." 

"And if it just happens so that I don't get away, 
but get took up along with them, you must up and 
say I told you the whole thing beforehand, and you 
must stand by me all you can." 

"Stand by you ! indeed I will. They sha'n't touch 
a hair of your head!" she says, and I see her nostrils 
spread and her e^^es snap when she said it, too. 

"If I get away I sha'n't be here," I says, "to 
prove these rapscallions ain't your uncles, and I 
couldn't do it if I was here. I could swear they was 
beats and bummers, that's all, though that's worth 
something. Well, there's others can do that better 
than what I can, and they're people that ain't going 
to be doubted as quick as I'd be. I'll tell you how to 
find them. Gimme a pencil and a piece of paper. 
There — 'Royal Nonesuch, Bricksville.' Put it away, 
and don't lose it. When the court wants to find out 
something about these two, let them send up to 
Bricksville and say they've got the men that played 
the * Royal Nonestich,' and ask for some witnesses — 
why, you'll have that entire town down here before 
you can hardly wink, Miss Mary. And they'll come 
a-biling, too." 

I judged we had got everything fixed about right 
now. So I says: 

"Just let the auction go right along, and don't 
worry. Nobody don't have to pay for the things 
they buy till a whole day after the auction on ac- 
counts of the short notice, and they ain't going out 
of this till they get that money; and the way we've 
fixed it the sale ain't going to count, and they ain't 

262 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

going to get no money. It's just like the way it was 
with the niggers — it warn't no sale, and the niggers 
will be back before long. Why, they can't collect 
the money for the niggers yet— they're in the worst 
kind of a fix. Miss Mary." 

"Well," she says, "I'll run down to breakfast now, 
and then I'll start straight for Mr. Lothrop's." 

" 'Deed, that ain't the ticket, Miss Mary Jane," I 
says, "by no manner of means; go before breakfast." 

"Why?" 

"What did you reckon I wanted 3^ou to go at all 
for. Miss Mary?" 

"Well, I never thought — and come to think, I 
don't know. What was it?" 

"Why, it's because you ain't one of these leather- 
face people. I don't want no better book than what 
your face is. A body can set down and read it off 
like coarse print. Do you reckon you can go and 
face your uncles when they come to kiss you good- 
morning, and never — " 

"There, there, don't! Yes, I'll go before break- 
fast — I'll be glad to. And leave my sisters with 
them?" 

"Yes; never mind about them. They've got to 
stand it yet awhile. They might suspicion some- 
thing if all of you was to go. I don't want you to 
see them, nor your sisters, nor nobody in this town; 
if a neighbor was to ask how is your uncles this 
morning your face would tell something. No, you 
go right along. Miss Mary Jane, and I'll fix it with 
all of them. I'll tell Miss Susan to give your love 
to your uncles and say you've went away for a few 

i8 263 



MARK TWAIN 

hours for to get a little rest and change, or to see a 
friend, and you'll be back to-night or early in the 
morning." 

"Gone to see a friend is all right, but I won't 
have my love given to them." 

"Well, then, it sha'n't be." It was well enough 
to tell her so — no harm in it. It was only a little 
thing to do, and no trouble; and it's the little things 
that smooths people's roads the most, down here 
below; it would make Mary Jane comfortable, and 
it wouldn't cost nothing. Then I says : "There's one 
more thing — that bag of money." 

"Well, they've got that; and it makes me feel 
pretty silly to think how they got it." 

"No, you're out, there. They hain't got it." 

"Why, who's got it?" 

"I wish I knowed, but I don't. I had it, because 
I stole it from them ; and I stole it to give to you ; and 
I know where I hid it, but I'm afraid it ain't there 
no more. I'm awful sorry. Miss Mary Jane, I'm 
just as sorry as I can be; but I done the best I could; 
I did honest. I come nigh getting caught, and I had 
to shove it into the first place I come to, and run — 
and it warn't a good place." 

"Oh, stop blaming yourself — it's too bad to do it, 
and I won't allow it — you couldn't help it; it wasn't 
your fault. Where did you hide it ?" 

I didn't want to set her to thinking about her 
troubles again ; and I couldn't seem to get my mouth to 
tell her what would make her see that corpse laying 
in the cofhn with that bag of money on his stomach. 
So for a minute I didn't say nothing; then I says: 

264 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

"I'd ruther not tell you where I put it, Miss Mary 
Jane, if you don't mind letting me off; but I'll write 
it for you on a piece of paper, and you can read it 
along the road to Mr. Lothrop's, if you want to. 
Do you reckon that '11 do?" 

"Oh, yes." 

So I wrote: "I put it in the coffin. It was in 
there when you was crying there, away in the night. 
I was behind the door, and I was mighty sorry for 
you, Miss Mary Jane." 

It made my eyes water a little to remember her 
crying there all by herself in the night, and them 
devils laying there right under her own roof, shaming 
her and robbing her; and when I folded it up and 
give it to her I see the water come into her eyes, too ; 
and she shook me by the hand, hard, and says: 

*'Good-hy. I'm going to do everything just as 
you've told me; and if I don't ever see you again, 
I sha'n't ever forget you, and I'll think of you a 
many and a many a time, and I'll pray for you, 
too!" — and she was gone. 

Pray for me! I reckoned if she knowed me she'd 
take a job that was more nearer her size. But I bet 
she done it, just the same — she was just that kind. 
She had the grit to pray for Judus if she took the 
notion — there warn't no back-down to her, I judge. 
You may say what you want to, but in my opinion 
she had more sand in her than any girl I ever see; 
in my opinion she was just full of sand. It sounds 
like flattery, but it ain't no flattery. And when it 
comes to beauty — and goodness, too — she lays over 
them all. I hain't ever seen her since that time that 

265 



MARK TWAIN 

I see her go out of that door; no, I hain't ever seen 
her since, but I reckon I've thought of her a many 
and a many a milHon tim.es, and of her saying she 
would pray for me; and if ever I'd 'a' thought it 
would do any good for me to pray for her, blamed 
if I wouldn't 'a' done it or bust. 

Well, Mary Jane she lit out the back way, I reckon ; 
because nobody see her go. When I struck Susan 
and the hare-lip, I says: 

** What's the name of them people over on t'other 
side of the river that you all goes to see sometimes?" 

They says: 

"There's several; but it's the Proctors, mainly.'* 

"That's the name," I says; "I most forgot it. 
Well, Miss Mary Jane she told me to tell you she's 
gone over there in a dreadful hurry — one of them's 
sick." 

"Which one?" 

"I don't know; leastways, I kinder forgot; but I 
thinks it's — " 

"Sakes alive, I hope it ain't Hannerf'' 

"I'm sorry to say it," I says, "but Hanner's the 
very one." 

"My goodness, and she so well only last week! 
Is she took bad?" 

"It ain't no name for it. They set up with her 
all night. Miss Mary Jane said, and they don't think 
she'll last many hours." 

"Only think of that, now! What's the matter 
with her?" 

I couldn't think of anything reasonable, right off 
that way, so I says : 

266 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

"Mumps." 

"Mumps your granny! They don't set up with 
people that's got the mumps." 

"They don't, don't they? You better bet they 
do with these mumps. These mumps is different. 
It's a new kind, Miss Mary Jane said." 

"How's it a new kind?" 

"Because it's mixed up with other things." 

"What other things?" 

"Well, measles, and whooping-cough, and erysip- 
las, and consumption, and yaller janders, and brain- 
fever, and I don't know what all." 

"My land! And they call it the mumps f'' 

"That's what Miss Mary Jane said." 

"Well, what in the nation do they call it the 
mumps for?" 

"Why, because it is the mumps. That's what it 
starts with." 

"Well, ther* ain't no sense in it. A body might 
stump his toe, and take pison, and fall dow^n the 
well, and break his neck, and bust his brains out, and 
somebody come along and ask what killed him, and 
some numskull up and say, 'Why, he stumped his 
toe.' Would ther' be any sense in that? No. And 
ther' ain't no sense in this, nuther. Is it ketch- 
ing?" 

" Is it ketching ? Why, how you talk. Is a harrow 
catching — in the dark? If you don't hitch on to 
one tooth, you're bound to on another, ain't you? 
And you can't get away with that tooth without 
fetching the whole harrow along, can you? Well, 
these kind of mumps is a kind of a harrow, as you 

267 



MARK TWAIN 

may say — ^and it ain't no slouch of a harrow, nuther, 
you come to get it hitched on good." 

"Well, it's aw^ul, / think," says the hare-lip. 
"I'll go to Uncle Harvey and — " 

"Oh, yes," I says, "I would. Of course I would. 
I wouldn't lose no time." 

"Well, why wouldn't you?" 

"Just look at it a minute, and maybe you can see. 
Hain't your uncles obleeged to get along home to 
England as fast as they can? And do you reckon 
they'd be mean enough to go off and leave you to go 
all that journey by yourselves? You know they'll 
wait for you. So fur, so good. Your uncle Harvey's 
a preacher, ain't he? Very well, then; is a preacher 
going to deceive a steamboat clerk? is he going to 
deceive a skip clerk f — so as to get them to let Miss 
Mary Jane go aboard? Now you know he ain't. 
What will he do, then? Why, he'll say, 'It's a great 
pity, but my church matters has got to get along 
the best way they can ; for my niece has been exposed 
to the dreadful pluribus-unum mumps, and so it's 
my bounden duty to set down here and wait the 
three months it takes to show on her if she's got it.' 
But never mind, if you think it's best to tell your 
uncle Harvey — " 

"Shucks, and stay fooling around here when we 
could all be having good times in England whilst 
we was waiting to find out whether Mary Jane's got 
it or not? Why, you talk like a muggins." 

"Well, anyway, maybe you'd better tell some of 
the neighbors." 

"Listen at that, now. You do beat all for natural 
268 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

stupidness. Can't you see that they'd go and tell? 
Ther' ain't no W^y but just to not tell anybody 
at ally 

"Well, maybe you're right— yes, I judge you are 
right." 

''But I reckon we ought to tell Uncle Harvey 
she's gone out a^bile, anyway, so he won't be un- 
easy about her?" 

"Yes, Miss MaiT Jane she wanted you to do that. 
She says, 'Tell tbem to give Uncle Harvey and 
William my love a^d a kiss, and say I've run over the 
river to see Mr.'-~Mr. — what is the name of that 
rich family your i;incle Peter used to think so much 
of ?— I mean the o^e that—" 

"Why, you mu^t mean the Apthorps, ain't it?" 

"Of course; bother them kind of names, a body 
can't ever seem t^ remember them, half the time, 
somehow. Yes, s^e said, say she has run over for 
to ask the Apthd^ps to be sure and come to the 
auction and buy tbis house, because she allowed her 
uncle Peter would ruther they had it than anybody 
else; and she's goi^g to stick to them till they say 
they'll come, and then, if she ain't too tired, she's 
coming home; an(i if she is, she'll be home in the 
morning anyway, ^be said, don't say nothing about 
the Proctors, but d^Y about the Apthorps — which '11 
be perfectly true, pecause she is going there to speak 
about their buying' the house; I know it, because she 
told me so herself." 

"All right," they said, and cleared out to lay for 
their uncles, and p-'^^ them the love and the kisses, 
and tell them the message. 

269 



MARK TWAIN 

Everything was all right now. The girls wouldn't 
say nothing because they wanted to go to England; 
and the king and the duke would ruther Mary Jane 
was off working for the auction than around in reach 
of Doctor Robinson. I felt very good; I judged I 
had done it pretty neat — I reckoned Tom Sawyer 
couldn't 'a' done it no neater himself. Of course he 
would 'a' throwed more style into it, but I can't do 
that very handy, not being brung up to it. 

Well, they held the auction in the public square, 
along towards the end of the afternoon, and it strung 
along, and strung along, and the old man he was on 
hand and looking his level pisonest, up there longside 
of the auctioneer, and chipping in a little Scripture 
now and then, or a little goody-goody saying of 
some kind, and the duke he was around goo-gooing 
for sympathy all he knowed how, and just spreading 
himself generly. 

But by and by the thing dragged through, and 
everything was sold — everything but a little old 
trifling lot in the graveyard. So they'd got to work 
that off — I never see such a girafft as the king was 
for wanting to swallow everything. Well, whilst they 
was at it a steamboat landed, and in about two 
minutes up comes a crowd a-whooping and yelling 
and laughing and carrying on, and singing out: 

''Here's your opposition line! here's your two sets 
o' heirs to old Peter Wilks — and you pays your 
money and you takes your choice!" 



CHAPTER XXIX 

THEY was fetching a very nice-looking old gentle- 
man along, and a nice-looking younger one, with 
his right arm in a sling. And, my souls, how the 
people yelled and laughed, and kept it up. But I 
didn't see no joke about it, and I judged it would 
strain the duke and the king some to see any. I 
reckoned they'd turn pale. But no, nary a pale did 
they turn. The duke he never let on he suspicioned 
what was up, but just went a goo-gooing around, 
happy and satisfied, like a jug that's googling out 
buttermilk; and as for the king, he just gazed and 
gazed down sorrowful on them new-comers like it 
give him the stomach-ache in his very heart to think 
there could be such frauds and rascals in the world. 
Oh, he done it admirable. Lots of the principal peo- 
ple gethered aroimd the king, to let him see they was 
on his side. That old gentleman that had just come 
looked all puzzled to death. Pretty soon he begun to 
speak, and I see straight off he pronounced like an 
Englishman — not the king's way, though the king's 
was pretty good for an imitation. I can't give the 
old gent's words, nor I can't imitate him; but he 
turned around to the crowd, and says, about like 
this: 

"This is a surprise to me which I wasn't looking 
271 



MARK TWAIN 

for; and I'll acknowledge, candid and frank, I ain't 
very well fixed to meet it and answer it; for my 
brother and me has had misfortunes; he's broke his 
arm and.our baggage got put off at a town above here 
last night in the night by a mistake. I am Peter 
Wilks's brother Harvey, and this is his brother Wil- 
liam, which can't hear nor speak — and can't even 
make signs to amount to much, now't he's only got 
one hand to work them with. We are who we say 
we are; and in a day or two, when I get the baggage, 
I can prove it. But up till then I won't say nothing 
more, but go to the hotel and wait." 

So him and the new dummy started off; and the 
king he laughs, and blethers out : 

"Broke his arm — very likely, ain't it? — and very 
convenient, too, for a fraud that's got to make signs, 
and ain't learnt how. Lost their baggage! That's 
mighty good ! — and mighty ingenious — under the cir- 
cumstances!'' 

So he laughed again; and so did everybody else, 
except three or four, or maybe half a dozen. One of 
these was that doctor; another one was a sharp- 
looking gentleman, with a carpet-bag of the old- 
fashioned kind made out of carpet-stuff, that had just 
come off of the steamboat and was talking to him in 
a low voice, and glancing towards the king now and 
then and nodding their heads — it was Levi Bell, the 
lawyer that was gone up to Louisville; and another 
one was a big rough husky that come along and 
listened to all the old gentlemen said, and was Hsten- 
ing to the king now. And when the king got done 
this husky up and says : 

272 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

* ' Say, boky here ; if you are Harvey Wilks, when'd 
you ccme to this town?" 

"The day before the funeral, friend," says the king. 

"But what time o' day?" 

"In the evenin' — 'bout an hour er two before sun- 
down." 

"How'd you come?" 

"I come down on the Susan Powell from Cincin- 
nati." 

"Well, then, how'd you come to be up at the Pint 
in the mornin' — in a canoe?" 

"I warn't up at the Pint in the mornin'." 

"It's a lie." 

Several of them jumped for him and begged him 
not to talk that way to an old man and a preacher. 

' * Preacher be hanged, he's a fraud and a liar. He 
was up at the Pint that mornin'. I live up there, 
don't I ? Well, I was up there, and he was up there. 
I see him there. He come in a canoe, along with Tim 
Collins and a boy." 

The doctor he up and says: 

* ' Would you know the boy again if you was to see 
him, Hines?" 

"I reckon I would, but I don't know. Why, 
yonder he is, now. I know him perfectly easy." 

It was me he pointed at. The doctor says: 

"Neighbors, I don't know whether the new couple 
is frauds or not ; but if these two ain't frauds, I am an 
idiot, that's all. I think it's our duty to see that they 
don't get away from here till we've looked into this 
thing. Come along, Hines; come along, the rest of 
you. We'll take these fellows to the tavern and 

273 



MARK TWAIN 

affront them with t'other couple, and I reckon we'll 
find out something before we get through." 

It was nuts for the crowd, though maybe not for 
the king's friends; so we all started. It was about 
sundown. The doctor he led me along by the hand, 
and was plenty kind enough, but he never let go my 
hand. 

We all got in a big room in the hotel, and lit up 
some candles, and fetched in the new couple. First, 
the doctor says : 

"I don't wish to be too hard on these two men, but 
I think they're frauds, and they may have complices 
that we don't know nothing about. If they have, 
won't the complices get away with that bag of gold 
Peter Wilks left? It ain't unlikely. If these men 
ain't frauds, they won't object to sending for that 
money and letting us keep it till they prove they're 
all right — ain't that so?" 

Everybody agreed to that. So I judged they had 
our gang in a prett}^ tight place right at the out start. 
But the king he only looked sorrowful, and says: 

"Gentlemen, I wish the money was there, for I 
ain't got no disposition to throw anything in the way 
of a fair, open, out-and-out investigation o' this 
misable business; but, alas, the money ain't there; 
you k'n send and see, if you want to." 

"Where is it, then?" 

"Well, when my niece give it to me to keep for her 
I took and hid it inside o' the straw tick o' my bed, 
not wishin' to bank it for the few days we'd be here, 
and considerin' the bed a safe place, we not bein' used 
to niggers, and suppos'n' 'em honest, like servants in 

274 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

England. The niggers stole it the very next momin' 
after I had went down-stairs ; and when I sold 'em I 
hadn't missed the money yit, so they got clean away 
with it. My servant here k'n tell you 'bout it, gen- 
tlemen." 

The doctor and several said "Shucks!" and I see 
nobody didn't altogether believe him. One man 
asked me if I see the niggers steal it. I said no, but I 
see them sneaking out of the room and hustling away, 
and I never thought nothing, only I reckoned they 
was afraid they had waked up my master and was 
trying to get away before he made trouble with 
them. That was all they asked me. Then the doc- 
tor whirls on me and says: 

"Are yoti English, too?" 

I says yes ; and him and some others laughed, and 
said, "Stuff!" 

Well, then they sailed in on the general investiga- 
tion, and there we had it, up and down, hour in, hour 
out, and nobody never said a word about supper, nor 
ever seemed to think about it — and so they kept it 
up, and kept it up; and it was the worst mixed-up 
thing you ever see. They made the king tell his yarn, 
and the}^ made the old gentleman tell his'n; and any- 
body but a lot of prejudiced chuckleheads would 'a' 
seen that the old gentleman was spinning truth and 
t'other one lies. And by and by they had me up 
to tell what I knowed. The king he give me a left- 
handed look out of the corner of his eye, and so I 
knowed enough to talk on the right side. I begun to 
tell about Sheffield, and how we lived there, and all 
about the EngHsh Wilkses, and so on; but I didn't 

275 



MARK TWAIN 

get pretty fur till the doctor begun to laugh; and 
Levi Bell, the lawyer, says: 

"Set down, my boy; I wouldn't strain myself if I 
was you. I reckon you ain't used to lying, it don't 
seem to come handy; what you want is practice. 
You do it pretty awkward." 

I didn't care nothing for the compliment, but I was 
glad to be let off, anyway. 

The doctor he started to say something, and turns 
and says: 

"If you'd been in town at first, Levi Bell — " 

The king broke in and reached out his hand, and 
says: 

"Why, is this my poor dead brother's old friend 
that he's wrote so often about?" 

The lawyer and him shook hands, and the lawyer 
smiled and looked pleased, and they talked right 
along awhile, and then got to one side and talked 
low ; and at last the lawyer speaks up and says : 

"That '11 fix it. I'll take the order and send it, 
along with your brother's, and then they'll know it's 
all right." 

So they got some paper and a pen, and the king he 
set down and twisted his head to one side, and chawed 
his tongue, and scrawled off something; and then 
they give the pen to the duke — and then for the first 
time the duke looked sick. But he took the pen and 
wrote. So then the lawyer turns to the new old 
gentleman and says: 

"You and your brother please write a line or two 
and sign your names." 

The old gentleman wrote, but nobody couldn't 
276 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 



read it. The lawyer looked powerful astonished, and 
says : 

"Well, it beats me — and snaked a lot of old letters 
out of his pocket, and examined them, and then ex- 
amined the old man's writing, and then them again; 
and then says: "These old letters is from Harvey 
Wilks; and here's these two handwritings, and any- 
body can see they didn't write them" (the king and 
the duke looked sold and foolish, I tell you, to see 
how the lawyer had took them in), "and here's this 
old gentleman's handwriting, and anybody can tell, 
easy enough, Jw didn't write them — fact is, the 
scratches he maizes ain't properly writing at all. Now, 
here's some letters from — " 

The new old gentleman says: 

"If you please, let me explain. Nobody can read 
my hand but my brother there — so he copies for me. 
It's his hand you've got there, not mine." 

''Well!'' says the lawyer, "this is sl state of things. 
I've got some of William's letters, too; so if you'll 
get him to write a line or so we can com — ' ' 

"He can't write with his left hand," says the old 
gentleman. "If he could use his right hand, you 
would see that he wrote his owtl letters and mine 
too. Look at both, please — they're by the same 
hand." 

The lawyer done it, and says: 

"I believe it's so — and if it ain't so, there's a heap 
stronger resemblance than I'd noticed before, any- 
way. Well, well, w^ell! I thought we was right on 
the track of a slution, but it's gone to grass, partly. 
But anyway, one thing is proved — these two ain't 



J 



^77 



MARK TWAIN 

either of 'em Wilkses" — and he wagged his head 
towards the king and the duke. 

Well, what do you think? That mule-headed old 
fool wouldn't give in then! Indeed he wouldn't. 
Said it warn't no fair test. Said his brother William 
was the cussedest joker in the world, and hadn't tried 
to write — he see William was going to play one of his 
jokes the minute he put the pen to paper. And so he 
warmed up and went warbling right along till he was 
actuly beginning to believe what he was saying him- 
self; but pretty soon the new gentleman broke in, and 
says: 

"I've thought of something. Is there anybody 
here that helped to lay out my br — helped to lay out 
the late Peter Wilks for burying?" 

"Yes," says somebody, "me and Ab Turner done 
it. We're both here." 

Then the old man turns toward the king, and 
says : 

"Peraps this gentleman can tell me what was 
tattooed on his breast?" 

Blamed if the king didn't have to brace up mighty 
quick, or he'd 'a' squshed down like a bluff bank that 
the river has cut under, it took him so sudden ; and, 
mind you, it was a thing that was calculated to make 
most anybody sqush to get fetched such a solid one as 
that without any notice, because how was he going to 
know what was tattooed on the man ? He whitened a 
little ; he couldn't help it ; and it was mighty still in 
there, and everybody bending a little forwards and 
gazing at him. Says I to myself, Now he'll throw up 
the sponge — there ain't no more use. Well, did he? 

278 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

A body can't hardly believe it, but he didn't. I 
reckon he thought he'd keep the thing up till he tired 
them people out, so they'd thin out, and him and the 
duke could break loose and get away. Anyway, he 
set there, and pretty soon he begun to smile, and says : 

'*Mf ! It's a very tough question, ain't it! Yes, 
sir, I k'n tell you what's tattooed on his breast. It's 
jest a small, thin, blue arrow — that's what it is; and 
if you don't look clost, you can't see it. Now what 
do you say — hey?" 

Well, I never see anything like that old blister for 
clean out-and-out cheek. 

The new old gentleman turns brisk towards Ab 
Turner and his pard, and his eye lights up like he 
judged he'd got the king this time, and says: 

''There — you've heard what he said! Was there 
any such mark on Peter Wilks's breast?'* 

Both of them spoke up and says : 

**We didn't see no such mark." 

"Good!" says the old gentleman. **Now, what 
you did see on his breast was a small dim P, and a B 
(which is an initial he dropped when he was young), 
and a W, and dashes between them, so: P — B — 
W" — and he marked them that way on a piece of 
paper. "Come, ain't that what you saw?" 

Both of them spoke up again, and says: 

"No, we didn't. We never seen any marks at all." 

Well, everybody was in a state of mind now, and 
they sings out : 

"The whole bilin' of 'm 's frauds! Le's duck 
*em! le's drown 'em! le's, ride 'em on a rail!" and 
everybody was whooping at once, and there was a rat- 
19 279 



MARK TWAIN 

tling powwow. But the lawyer he jumps on the 
table and yells, and says : 

* ' Gentlemen — gentleman/ Hear me just a word — 
just a single word — if you please ! There's one way 
yet — let's go and dig up the corpse and look." 

That took them. 

"Hooray!" they all shouted, and was starting right 
off; but the lawyer and the doctor sung out: 

**Hold on, hold on! Collar all these four men and 
the boy, and fetch them along, too!" 

*' We'll do it!" they all shouted; ''and if we don't 
find them marks we'll lynch the whole gang!" 

I was scared, now, I tell you. But there warn't no 
getting away, you know. They gripped us all, and 
marched us right along, straight for the graveyard, 
which was a mile and a half down the river, and the 
whole town at our heels, for we made noise enough, 
and it was only nine in the evening. 

As we went by our house I wished I hadn't sent 
Mary Jane out of town; because now if I could tip 
her the wink she'd light out and save me, and blow on 
our dead-beats. 

Well, we swarmed along down the river road, just 
carrying on like wildcats ; and to make it more scary 
the sky was darking up, and the lightning beginning 
to wink and flitter, and the wind to shiver amongst 
the leaves. This was the most awful trouble and most 
dangersome I ever was in ; and I was kinder stunned ; 
everything was going so different from what I had 
allowed for; stead of being fixed so I could take my 
own time if I wanted to, and see all the fun, and have 
Mary Jane at my back to save me and set me free 

280 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

when the close-fit come, here was nothing in the 
world betwixt me and sudden death but just them 
tattoo-marks. If they didn't find them — 

I couldn't bear to think about it; and yet, some- 
how, I couldn't think about nothing else. It got 
darker and darker, and it was a beautiful time to give 
the crowd the slip ; but that big husky had me by the 
wrist — Hines — and a body might as well try to give 
Goliar the slip. He dragged me right along, he was so 
excited, and I had to run to keep up. 

When they got there they swarmed into the grave- 
yard and washed over it like an overflow. And when 
they got to the grave they found they had about a 
hundred times as many shovels as they wanted, but 
nobody hadn't thought to fetch a lantern. But they 
sailed into digging anyway by the flicker of the light- 
ning, and sent a man to the nearest house, a half a 
mile off, to borrow one. 

So they dug and dug like everything; and it got 
awful dark, and the rain started, and the wind 
swished and swushed along, and the lightning come 
brisker and brisker, and the thunder boomed; but 
them people never took no notice of it, they was so 
full of this business; and one minute you could see 
everything and every face in that big crowd, and the 
shovelfuls of dirt sailing up out of the grave, and the 
next second the dark wiped it all out, and you 
couldn't see nothing at all. 

At last they got out the coffin and begun to un- 
screw the lid, and then such another crowding and 
shouldering and shoving as there was, to scrouge in 
and get a sight, you never see; and in the dark, that 

281 



MARK TWAIN 

way, it was aw^ul. Hines he hurt my wrist dread- 
ful pulling and tugging so, and I reckon he clean 
forgot I was in the worid, he was so excited and 
panting. 

All of a sudden the lightning let go a perfect sluice 
of white glare, and somebody sings out: 

"By the living jingo, here's the bag of gold on his 
breast!" 

Hines let out a whoop, like everybody else, and 
dropped my wrist and give a big surge to bust his 
way in and get a look, and the way I lit out and 
shinned for the road in the dark there ain't nobody 
can tell. 

I had the road all to myself, and I fairly flew — 
leastways, I had it all to myself except the solid dark, 
and the now^-and-then glares, and the buzzing of the 
rain, and the thrashing of the wind, and the splitting 
of the thunder ; and sure as you are born I did clip it 
along ! 

When I struck the town I see there warn't nobody 
out in the storm, so I never hunted for no back streets, 
but humped it straight through the main one; and 
when I begun to get towards our house I aimed my 
eye and set it. No light there ; the house all dark — 
which made me feel sorry and disappointed, I didn't 
know why. But at last, just as I was sailing by, flash 
comes the light in Mary Jane's window! and my 
heart swelled up sudden, like to bust ; and the same 
second the house and all was behind me in the dark, 
and wasn't ever going to be before me no more in this 
world. She was the best girl I ever see, and had the 
most sand. 

282 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

The minute I was far enough above the town to see 
I could make the towhead, I begun to look sharp for 
a boat to borrow, and the first time the lightning 
showed me one that wasn't chained I snatched it and 
shoved. It was a canoe, and warn't fastened with 
nothing but a rope. The tow-head was a ratthng big 
distance off, away out there in the middle of the river, 
but I didn't lose no time; and when I struck the raft 
at last I was so fagged I would 'a' just laid down to 
blow and gasp if I could afforded it. But I didn't. 
As I sprung aboard I sung out : 

"Out with you, Jim, and set her loose! Glory be 
to goodness, we're shut of them!" 

Jim lit out, and was a-coming for me with both arms 
spread, he was so full of joy; but when I glimpsed 
him in the lightning my heart shot up in my mouth 
and I went overboard backwards ; for I forgot he was 
old King Lear and a drownded A-rab all in one, and it 
most scared the livers and lights out of me. But Jim 
fished me out, and w^as going to hug me and bless me, 
and so on, he was so glad I was back and we was 
shut of the king and the duke, but I says : 

Not now ; have it for breakfast, have it for break- 
fast! Cut loose and let her slide!" 

So in two seconds away we went a-sliding down the 
river, and it did seem so good to be free again and all 
by ourselves on the big river, and nobody to bother 
us. I had to skip around a bit, and jump up and 
crack my heels a few times — I couldn't help it; but 
about the third crack I noticed a sound that I knowed 
mighty well, and held my breath and listened and 
waited ; and sure enough, when the next flash busted 

283 



MARK TWAIN 

out over the water, here they come! — and just a- 
la^dng to their oars and making their skiff hum! It 
was the king and the duke. 

So I wihed right down onto the planks then, and 
give up ; and it was all I could do to keep from crying. 



CHAPTER XXX 

WHEN they got aboard the king went for me, 
and shook me by the collar, and says: 

"Tryin' to give us the slip, was ye, you pup! 
Tired of our company, hey?" 

I says: 

"No, your majesty, we warn't — please don't, your 
majesty!" 

"Quick, then, and tell us what was your idea, or 
I'll shake the insides out o' you!" 

"Honest, I'll tell you everything just as it hap- 
pened, your majesty. The man that had a-holt of me 
was very good to me, and kept saying he had a boy 
about as big as me that died last year, and he was 
sorry to see a boy in such a dangerous fix ; and when 
they was all took by surprise by finding the gold, and 
made a rush for the coffin, he lets go of me and whis- 
pers, 'Heel it now, or they'll hang ye, sure!' and I 
lit out. It didn't seem no good for me to stay — / 
couldn't do nothing, and I didn't want to be hung if 
I could get away. So I never stopped running till I 
found the canoe ; and when I got here I told Jim to 
hurry, or they'd catch me and hang me yet, and said 
I was afeard you and the duke wasn't alive now, and 
I was awful sorry, and so was Jim, and was awful glad 
when we see you coming ; you may ask Jim if I didn't. '* 

285 



MARK TWAIN 

Jim said it was so; and the king told him to shut 
up, and said, "Oh, yes, it's mighty Hkely!" and 
shook me up again, and said he reckoned he'd drownd 
me. But the duke says: 

' ' Leggo the boy, you old idiot ! Would yoti 'a' done 
any different ? Did you inquire around for him when 
you got loose? I don't remember it." 

So the king let go of me, and begun to cuss that 
town and everybody in it. But the duke says: 

"You better a blame' sight give yourself a good 
cussing, for you're the one that's entitled to it most. 
You hain't done a thing from the start that had any 
sense in it, except coming out so cool and cheeky with 
that imaginary blue-arrow mark. That was bright — 
it was right down bully; and it was the thing that 
saved us. For if it hadn't been for that they'd 'a' jailed 
us till them Englishmen's baggage come — and then — 
the penitentiary, you bet ! But that trick took 'em to 
the graveyard, and the gold done us a still bigger 
kindness; for if the excited fools hadn't let go all 
holts and made that rush to get a look we'd 'a' slept 
in our cravats to-night — cravats warranted to wear, 
too — longer than we'd need 'em." 

They was still a minute — thinking; then the king 
says, kind of absent-minded like : 

"Mf ! And we reckoned the niggers stole it!" 

That made me squirm! 

"Yes," says the duke, kinder slow and deliberate 
and sarcastic, "we did." 

After about a half a minute the king drawls out: 

"Leastways, I did." 

The duke says, the same way: 
286 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

"On the contrary, I did." 

The king kind of ruffles up, and says: 

"Looky here, Bilgewater, what'r you referrin' to?" 
The duke says, pretty brisk: 

"When it comes to that, maybe you'll let me ask 
what was you referring to?" 

"Shucks!" says the king, very sarcastic; "but / 
don't know — maybe you was asleep, and didn't know 
what you was about." 

The duke bristles up now, and says: 

"Oh, let Mp on this cussed nonsense; do you take 
me for a blame' fool ? Don't you reckon / know who 
hid that money in that coffin?" 

''Yes, sir! I know you do know, because you done 
it yourself!" 

"It's a lie!" — and the duke went for him. The 
king sings out : 

"Take y'r hands off! — leggo my throat! — I take it 
all back!" 

The duke says : 

"Well, you just own up, first, that you did hide 
that money there, intending to give me the slip one 
of these days, and come back and dig it up, and have 
it all to yourself." 

"Wait jest a minute, duke — answer me this one 
question, honest and fair; if you didn't put the money 
there, say it, and I'll b'lieve you, and take back every- 
thing I said." 

"You old scoundrel, I didn't, and you know I 
didn't. There, now!" 

"Well, then, I b'lieve you. But answer me only 
jest this one more — now donH git mad; didn't 

287 



MARK TWAIN 

you have it in your mind to hook the money and 
hide it?" 

The duke never said nothing for a Httle bit ; then he 
says: 

**Well, I don't care if I did, I didn't do it, anyway. 
But you not only had it in mind to do it, but you 
done it." 

"I wisht I never die if I done it, duke, and that's 
honest. I won't say I warn't goin' to do it, because I 
was; but you — I mean somebody — got in ahead o' 
me." 

''It's a He! You done it, and you got to say you 
done it, or — " 

The king began to gurgle, and then he gasps out: 

'"Nough! — / own upF' 

I was very glad to hear him say that ; it made me 
feel much more easier than what I was feeling before. 
So the duke took his hands off and says: 

"If you ever deny it again I'll drown you. It's 
well for you to set there and blubber like a baby — it's 
fatten for you, after the way you've acted. I never 
see such an old ostrich for wanting to gobble every- 
thing — and I a-trusting you all the time, like you 
was my own father. You ought to been ashamed of 
yourself to stand by and hear it saddled on to a lot 
of poor niggers, and you never say a word for 'em. 
It makes me feel ridiculous to think I was soft enough 
to believe that rubbage. Cuss you, I can see now 
why you was so anxious to make up the defifisit— you 
wanted to get what money I'd got out of the 'None- 
such' and one thing or another, and scoop it allT' 

The king says, timid, and still a-snuffiing: 
288 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

"Why, duke, it was you that said make up the 
deffersit; it warn't me." 

"Dry up! I don't want to hear no more out of 
you!" says the duke. "And now you see what you 
got by it. They've got all their own money back, 
and all of ourn but a shekel or two besides. G'long 
to bed, and don't you deffersit me no more deffersits, 
long's you live!" 

So the king sneaked into the wigwam and took to 
his bottle for comfort, and before long the duke 
tackled his bottle; and so in about a half an hour 
they was as thick as thieves again, and the tighter 
they got the lovinger they got, and went off a-snoring 
in each other's arms. They both got powerful mel- 
low, but I noticed the king didn't get mellow enough 
to forget to remember to not deny about hiding the 
money-bag again. That made me feel easy and 
satisfied. Of course when they got to snoring we had 
a long gabble, and I told Jim everything. 



CHAPTER XXXI 

WE dasn't stop again at any town for days and 
days ; kept right along down the river. We was 
down south in the warm weather now, and a mighty 
long ways from home. We begun to come to trees 
with Spanish moss on them, hanging down from the 
limbs like long, gray beards. It was the first I ever 
see it growing, and it made the woods look solemn 
and dismal. So now the frauds reckoned they was 
out of danger, and they begun to work the villages 
again. 

First they done a lecture on temperance; but they 
didn't make enough for them both to get drunk on. 
Then in another village they started a dancing- 
school ; but they didn't know no more how to dance 
than a kangaroo does ; so the first prance they made 
the general public jumped in and pranced them out 
of town. Another time they tried to go at yellocu- 
tion; but they didn't yellocute long till the audience 
got up and give them a solid good cussing, and made 
them skip out. They tackled missionarying, and 
mesmerizing, and doctoring, and telling fortunes, and 
a little of everything; but they couldn't seem to have 
no luck. So at last they got just about dead broke, 
and laid around the raft as she floated along, think- 
ing and thinking, and never saying nothing, by the 

290 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

half a day at a time, and dreadful blue and des- 
perate. 

And at last they took a change and begun to lay 
their heads together in the wigwam and talk low and 
confidential two or three hours at a time. Jim and 
me got uneasy. We didn't like the look of it. We 
judged they was studying up some kind of worse 
deviltry than ever. We turned it over and over, 
and at last we made up our minds they was going to 
break into somebody's house or store, or was going 
into the counterfeit-money business, or something. 
So then we was pretty scared, and made up an 
agreement that we wouldn't have nothing in the 
world to do with such actions, and if we ever got the 
least show we would give them the cold shake and 
clear out and leave them behind. Well, early one 
morning we hid the raft in a good, safe place about 
two mile below a little bit of a shabby village named 
Pikes ville, and the king he went ashore and told us 
all to stay hid w^hilst he went up to town and smelt 
around to see if anybody had got any wind of the 
"Royal Nonesuch" there yet. (''House to rob, you 
mean,'' says I to myself; "and when you get through 
robbing it you'll come back here and wonder what 
has become of me and Jim and the raft — and you'll 
have to take it out in wondering.") And he said if 
he warn't back by midday the duke and me would 
know it was all right, and we was to come along. 

So we stayed where we was. The duke he fretted 
and sweated around, and was in a mighty sour way. 
He scolded us for everything, and we couldn't seem 
to do nothing right ; he f oimd fault with every little 

291 



MARK TWAIN 

thing. Something was a-brewing, sure. I was good 
and glad when midday come and no king; we could 
have a change, anyway — and maybe a chance for 
the chance on top of it. So me and the duke went 
up to the village, and hunted around there for the 
king, and by and by we found him in the back room 
of a little low doggery, very tight, and a lot of 
loafers bullyragging him for sport, and he a-cussing 
and a-threatening with all his might, and so tight 
he couldn't walk, and couldn't do nothing to them. 
The duke he begun to abuse him for an old fool, and 
the king begun to sass back, and the minute they was 
fairly at it I lit out and shook the reefs out of my 
hind legs, and spun down the river road like a deer, 
for I see our chance ; and I made up my mind that it 
would be a long day before they ever see me and Jim 
again. I got down there all out of breath but loaded 
up with joy, and sung out: 

"Set her loose, Jim; we're all right now!" 

But there warn't no answer, and nobody come out 
of the wigwam. Jim was gone! I set up a shout — 
and then another — and then another one; and run 
this way and that in the woods, whooping and 
screeching; but it warn't no use — old Jim was gone. 
Then I set down and cried; I couldn't help it. But 
I couldn't set still long. Pretty soon I went out on 
the road, trying to think what I better do, and I run 
across a boy walking, and asked him if he'd seen a 
strange nigger dressed so and so, and he says: 

"Yes." 

"Whereabouts?" says I. 

"Down to Silas Phelps's place, two mile below 
292 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

here. He's a runaway nigger, and they've got him. 
Was you looking for him?" 

"You bet I ain't! I run across him in the woods 
about an hour or two ago, and he said if I hollered 
he'd cut m}^ livers out — and told me to lay down and 
stay where I was; and I done it. Been there ever 
since; afeard to come out." 

''Well," he says, "you needn't be afeard no more, 
becuz they've got him. He run off f'm down South, 
som'ers." 

"It's a good job they got him." 

"Well, I reckon! There's two hundred dollars' 
reward on him. It's like picking up money out'n the 
road." 

"Yes, it is — and I could 'a' had it if I'd been big 
enough; I see him first. Who nailed him?" 

"It was an old fellow — a stranger — and he sold 
out his chance in him for forty dollars, becuz he's got 
to go up the river and can't wait. Think o' that, 
now! You bet Fd wait, if it was seven year." 

"That's me, every time," says I. "But maybe his 
chance ain't worth no more than that, if he'll sell 
it so cheap. Maybe there's something ain't straight 
about it." 

"But it is, though — straight as a string. I see the 
handbill myself. It tells all about him, to a dot — 
paints him like a picture, and tells the plantation he's 
frum, below Newr/{?aw5. No-sirree-6(?fe, they ain't no 
trouble 'bout that speculation, you bet you. Say, 
gimme a chaw tobacker, won't ye?" 

I didn't have none, so he left. I went to the raft, 
and set down in the wigwam to think. But I couldn't 

293 



MARK TWAIN 

come to nothing. I thought till I wore my head sore, 
but I couldn't see no way out of the trouble. After 
all this long journey, and after all we'd done for them 
scoundrels, here it was all come to nothing, every- 
thing all busted up and ruined, because they could 
have the heart to serve Jim such a trick as that, and 
make him a slave again all his life, and amongst 
strangers, too, for forty dirty dollars. 

Once I said to myself it would be a thousand times 
better for Jim to be a slave at home where his family 
was, as long as he'd got to be a slave, and so I'd better 
write a letter to Tom Sawyer and tell him to tell 
Miss-Watson where he was. But I soon give up that 
notion for two things: she'd be mad and disgusted 
at his rascality and ungratefulness for leaving her, 
and so she'd sell him straight down the river again; 
and if she didn't, everybody naturally despises an 
ungrateful nigger, and they'd make Jim feel it all 
the time, and so he'd feel ornery and disgraced. And 
then think of me! It would get all around that Huck 
Finn helped a nigger to get his freedom; and if I 
was ever to see anybody from that town again I'd 
be ready to get down and lick his boots for shame. 
That's just the way : a person does a low-down thing, 
and then he don't want to take no consequences of it. 
Thinks as long as he can hide, it ain't no disgrace. 
That was my fix exactly. The more I studied about 
this the more my conscience went to grinding me, 
and the more wicked and low-down and ornery I 
got to feeling. And at last, when it hit me all of a 
sudden that here was the plain hand of Providence 
slapping me in the face and letting me know my wick- 

294 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

edness was being watched all the time from up there 
in heaven, whilst I was stealing a poor old woman's 
nigger that hadn't ever done me no harm, and now 
was showing me there's One that's always on the 
lookout, and ain't a-going to allow no such miserable 
doings to go only just so fur and no further, I most 
dropped in my tracks I was so scared. Well, I tried 
the best I could to kinder soften it up somehow for 
myself by saying I was brung up wicked, and so I 
wam't so much to blame; but something inside of 
me kept saying, "There was the Sunday-school, you 
could 'a' gone to it; and if you'd 'a' done it they'd 
'a' learnt you there that people that acts as I'd been 
acting about that nigger goes to everlasting fire." 

It made me shiver. And I about made up my 
mind to pray, and see if I couldn't try to quit being 
the kind of a boy I was and be better. So I kneeled 
down. But the words wouldn't come. Why wouldn't 
they? It warn't no use to try and hide it from Him. 
Nor from me, neither. I knowed very well why they 
wouldn't come. It was because my heart warn't 
right ; it was because I warn't square; it was because 
I was playing double. I was letting on to give up 
sin, but away inside of me I was holding on to the 
biggest one of all. I was trying to make my mouth 
say I would do the right thing and the clean thing, 
and go and write to that nigger's owner and tell 
where he was ; but deep down in me I knowed it was 
a lie, and He knowed it. You can't pray a lie — I found 
that out. 

So I was full of trouble, full as I could be; and 
didn't know what to do. At last I had an idea; and 
20 29s 



MARK TWAIN 

I says, I'll go and write the letter — and then see if I 
can pray. Why, it was astonishing, the way I felt 
as light as a feather right straight off, and my troubles 
all gone. So I got a piece of paper and a pencil, all 
glad and excited, and set down and wrote: 

Miss Watson, your runaway nigger Jim is down here two 
mile below Pikesville, and ]\Ir. Phelps has got him and he will 
give him up for the reward if you send. Huck Finn. 

I felt good and all washed clean of sin for the first 
time I had ever felt so in my life, and I knowed I 
could pray now. But I didn't do it straight off, but 
laid the paper down and set there thinking — thinking 
how good it was all this happened so, and how near I 
come to being lost and going to hell. And went on 
thinking. And got to thinking over our trip down the 
river; and I see Jim before me all the time: in the 
day and in the night-time, sometimes moonlight, 
sometimes storms, and we a-floating along, talking 
and singing and laughing. But somehow I couldn't 
seem to strike no places to harden me against him, 
but only the other kind. I'd see him standing my 
watch on top of his'n, 'stead of calling me, so I could 
go on sleeping; and see him how glad he was when I 
come back out of the fog; and when I come to him 
again in the swamp, up there where the feud was; 
and such-like times ; and would always call me honey, 
and pet me, and do everything he could think of for 
me, and how good he always was; and at last I 
struck the time I saved him by telling the men we 
had smallpox aboard, and he was so grateful, and 
said I was the best friend old Jim ever had in the 

296 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

world, and the only one he's got now; and then I 
happened to look around and see that paper. 

It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in 
my hand. I was a-trembling, because I'd got to 
decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed 
it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, 
and then says to myself: 

*'A11 right, then, I'll go to hell'* — and tore it up. 

It was awful thoughts and awful words, but they 
was said. And I let them stay said; and never 
thought no more about reforming. I shoved the 
whole thing out of my head, and said I would take 
up wickedness again, which was in my line, being 
brung up to it, and the other warn't. And for a 
starter I would go to work and steal Jim out of 
slavery again; and if I could think up anything 
worse, I would do that, too; because as long as I 
was in, and in for good, I might as well go the 
whole hog. 

Then I set to thinking over how to get at it, and 
turned over some considerable many ways in my 
mind; and at last fixed up a plan that suited me. 
So then I took the bearings of a woody island that 
was down the river a piece, and as soon as it was 
fairly dark I crept out with my raft and went for 
it, and hid it there, and then turned in. I slept the 
night through, and got up before it was light, and 
had my breakfast, and put on my store clothes, and 
tied up some others and one thing or another in a 
bundle, and took the canoe and cleared for shore. 
I landed below where I judged was Phelps's place, 
and hid my bundle in the woods, and then filled up 

297 



MARK TWAIN 

the canoe with water, and loaded rocks into her and 
sunk her where I could find her again when I wanted 
her, about a quarter of a mile below a little steam- 
sawmill that was on the bank. 

Then I struck up the road, and when I passed the 
mill I see a sign on it, "Phelps's Sawmill," and when 
I come to the farm-houses, two or three hundred 
yards further along, I kept my eyes peeled, but 
didn't see nobody around, though it was good day- 
light now. But I didn't mind, because I didn't want 
to see nobody just yet — I only wanted to get the lay 
of the land. According to my plan, I was going 
to turn up there from the village, not from below. 
So I just took a look, and shoved along, straight for 
town. Well, the very first man I see when I got 
there was the duke. He was sticking up a bill for 
the "Royal Nonesuch" — three-night performance — 
like that other time. They had the cheek, them 
frauds! I was right on him before I could shirk. 
He looked astonished, and says: 

''Hel-lo! Where'd you come from?" Then he 
says, kind of glad and eager, "Where's the raft? — 
got her in a good place?" 

I says: 

"Why, that's just what I was going to ask your 
grace." 

Then he didn't look so joyful, and says: 

"What was your idea for asking me?'' he says. 

"Well," I says, "when I see the king in that 
doggery yesterday I says to myself, we can't get him 
home for hours, till he's soberer; so I went a-loafing 
around town to put in the time and wait. A man 

J298 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

up and offered me ten cents to help him pull a skiff 
over the river and back to fetch a sheep, and so I 
went along; but when we was dragging him to the 
boat, and the man left me a-holt of the rope and 
went behind him to shove him along, he was too 
strong for me and jerked loose and run, and we after 
him. We didn't have no dog, and so we had to 
chase him all over the country till we tired him out. 
We never got him till dark; then we fetched him 
over, and I started down for the raft. When I got 
there and see it was gone, I says to myself, 'They've 
got into trouble and had to leave; and they've took 
my nigger, whicli is the only nigger I've got in the 
world, and now I'm in a strange country, and ain't 
got no property no more, nor nothing, and no way 
to make my living' ; so I set down and cried. I slept 
in the woods all night. But what did becom.e of the 
raft, then? — and Jim — poor Jim!" 

"Blamed if I know — that is, what's become of the 
raft. That old fool had made a trade and got forty 
dollars, and when we found nim in the doggery the 
loafers had matched half-dollars with him and got 
every cent but what he'd spent for whisky; and when 
I got him home late last night and found the raft 
gone, we said, 'That little rascal has stole our raft 
and shook us, and run off down the river.'" 

"I wouldn't shake my nigger, would I? — the only 
nigger I had in the world, and the only property." 

"We never thought of that. Fact is, I reckon 
we'd come to consider him our nigger; yes, we did 
consider him so — goodness knows we had trouble 
enough for him. So when we see the raft was gone 

299 



MARK TWAIN 

and we flat broke, there wam't anything for it but 
to try the 'Royal Nonesuch' another shake. And 
I've pegged along ever since, dry as a powder- 
horn. Where's that ten cents? Give it here." 

I had considerable money, so I give him ten cents, 
but begged him to spend it for something to eat, and 
give me some, because it was all the money I had, 
and I hadn't had nothing to eat since yesterday. 
He never said nothing. The next minute he whirls 
on me and says: 

**Do you reckon that nigger would blow on us? 
We'd skin him if he done that!" 

*'How can he blow? Hain't he run off?" 

**Nol That old fool sold him, and never divided 
with me, and the money's gone." 

^'Sold him?" I says, and begun to cry; "why, he 
was my nigger, and that was my money. Where is 
he? — I want my nigger." 

"Well, you can't get your nigger, that's all — so 
dry up your blubbering. Looky here — do you think 
you'd venture to blow on us? Blamed if I think I'd 
trust you. Why, if you was to blow on us — " 

He stopped, but I never see the duke look so ugly 
out of his eyes before. I went on a-whimpering, and 
says : 

"I don't want to blow on nobody; and I ain't got 
no time to blow, nohow ; I got to turn out and find 
my nigger." 

He looked kinder bothered, and stood there with 
his bills fluttering on his arm, thinking, and wrink- 
ling up his forehead. At last he says : 

"I'll tell you something. We got to be here three 
300 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

days. If you'll promise you won't blow, and won't 
let the nigger blow, I'll tell you where to find him." 

So I promised, and he says : 

"A farmer by the name of Silas Ph — " and then 
he stopped. You see, he started to tell me the 
truth; but when he stopped that way, and begun to 
study and think again, I reckoned he was changing 
his mind. And so he was. He wouldn't trust me; 
he wanted to make sure of having me out of the way 
the whole three days. So pretty soon he says: 

*'The man that bought him is named Abram 
Foster — Abram G. Foster — and he lives forty mile 
back here in the country, on the road to 'Lafayette." 

"All right," I says, "I can walk it in three days. 
And I'll start this very afternoon." 

"No you won't, you'll start now; and don't you 
lose any time about it, neither, nor do any gabbling 
by the way. Just keep a tight tongue in your head 
and move right along, and then you won't get into 
trouble with us, d'ye hear?" 

That was the order I wanted, and that was the one 
I played for. I wanted to be left free to work my plans. 

"So clear out," he says; "and you can tell Mr. 
Foster whatever you want to. Maybe you can get 
him to believe that Jim is your nigger — some idiots 
don't require documents — leastways I've heard 
there's such down South here. And when you tell 
him the handbill and the reward's bogus, maybe he'll 
believe you when you explain to him what the idea 
was for getting 'em out. Go 'long now, and tell him 
anything you want to ; but mind you don't work your 
jaw any between here and there." 

301 



MARK TWAIN 

So I left, and struck for the back country. I didn't 
look around, but I kinder felt like he was watching 
me. But I knowed I could tire him out at that, I 
went straight out in the country as much as a mile 
before I stopped; then I doubled back through the 
woods towards Phelps's. I reckoned I better start in 
on my plan straight off without fooling around, be- 
cause I wanted to stop Jim's mouth till these fellow^s 
could get away. I didn't want no trouble with their 
kind. I'd seen all I wanted to of them, and wanted 
to get entirely shut of them. 



CHAPTER XXXII 

WHEN I got there it was all still and Sunday- 
like, and hot and sunshiny; the hands was 
gone to the fields ; and there was them kind of faint 
dronings of bugs and flies in the air that makes it 
seem so lonesome and like everybody's dead and 
gone; and if a breeze fans along and quivers the 
leaves it makes you feel mournful, because you feel 
like it's spirits whispering — spirits that's been dead 
ever so many years — and you always think they're 
talking about yoti. As a general thing it makes a 
body wish he was dead, too, and done with it all. 

Phelps's was one of these little one-horse cotton 
plantations, and they all look alike. A rail fence 
round a two-acre yard ; a stile made out of logs sawed 
off and up-ended in steps, like barrels of a different 
length, to climb over the fence with, and for the 
women to stand on when they are going to jump 
onto a horse; some sickly grass-patches in the big 
yard, but mostly it was bare and smooth, like an old 
hat with the nap rubbed off; big double log house 
for the white folks—hewed logs, with the chinks 
stopped up with mud or mortar, and these mud- 
stripes been whitewashed some tim.e or another; 
round-log kitchen, with a big broad, open but roofed 
passage joining it to the house ; log smokehouse back 

303 



MARK TWAIN 

of the kitchen ; three Httle log nigger cabins in a row 
t'other side the smokehouse; one httle hut all by 
itself away down against the back fence, and some 
outbuildings down a piece the other side ; ash-hopper 
and big kettle to bile soap in by the little hut ; bench 
by the kitchen door, with bucket of water and a 
gourd; hotmd asleep there in the sun; more hounds 
asleep round about ; about three shade trees away off 
in a corner; some currant bushes and gooseberry 
bushes in one place by the fence ; outside of the fence 
a garden and a watermelon patch; then the cotton- 
fields begins, and after the fields the woods. 

I went around and dumb over the back stile by the 
ash-hopper, and started for the kitchen. When I got 
a little ways I heard the dim hum of a spinning-wheel 
wailing along up and sinking along down again; and 
then I knowed for certain I wished I was dead — for 
that is the lonesomest sound in the whole world. 

I went right along, not fixing up any particular 
plan, but just trusting to Providence to put the right 
words in my mouth when the time come; for I'd 
noticed that Providence always did put the right 
words in my mouth if I left it alone. 

When I got half-way, first one hound and then 
another got up and went for me, and of course I 
stopped and faced them, and kept still. And such 
another powwow as they made! In a quarter of a 
minute I was a kind of a hub of a wheel, as you may 
say — spokes made out of dogs — circle of fifteen of 
them packed together around me, with their necks 
and no':es stretched up towards me, a-barking and 
howling; and more a-coming; you could see them 

304 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

sailing over fences and around corners from every- 
wheres. 

A nigger woman come tearing out of the kitchen 
with a roUing-pin in her hand, singing out, "Begone! 
you Tige! you Spot! begone sah!" and she fetched 
first one and then another of them a cHp and sent 
them howHng, and then the rest followed; and the 
next second half of them come back, wagging their 
tails around me, and making friends with me. There 
ain't no harm in a hound, nohow. 

And behind the woman comes a little nigger girl 
and two little nigger boys without anything on but 
tow-linen shirts, and they hung on to their mother's 
gown, and peeped out from behind her at me, bashful, 
the way they always do. And here comes the white 
woman running from the house, about forty-five or 
fifty year old, bareheaded, and her spinning-stick in 
her hand; and behind her comes her little white 
children, acting the same way the little niggers was 
going. She was smiling all over so she could hardly 
stand — and says: 

"It's you, at last!— am'/ it?" 

I out with a "Yes'm" before I thought. 

She grabbed me and hugged me tight; and then 
gripped me by both hands and shook and shook ; and 
the tears come in her eyes, and run down over; and 
she couldn't seem to hug and shake enough, and kept 
saying, "You don't look as much like your mother 
as I reckoned you would; but law sakes, I don't 
care for that, I'm so glad to see you! Dear, dear, it 
does seem like I could eat you up! Children, it's 
your cousin Tom! — tell him howdy." 

305 



MARK TWAIN 

But they ducked their heads, and put their fingers 
in their mouths, and hid behind her. So she run on : 

"Lize, hurry up and get him a hot breakfast right 
away — or did you get your breakfast on the boat?" 

I said I had got it on the boat. So then she started 
for the house, leading me by the hand, and the chil- 
dren tagging after. When we got there she set me 
down in a split-bottomed chair, and set herself down 
on a little low stool in front of me, holding both of 
my hands, and says: 

' ' Now I can have a good look at you ; and, laws-a- 
me, I've been hungry for it a many and a many a 
time, all these long years, and it's come at last! We 
been expecting you a couple of days and more. What 
kep' you? — boat get aground?" 

* * Yes'm — she — ' ' 

''Don't say yes'm — say Aunt Sally. Where'd she 
get aground?" 

I didn't rightly know what to say, because I didn't 
know whether the boat would be coming up the river 
or down. But I go a good deal on instinct ; and my 
instinct said she would be coming up — from down 
towards Orleans. That didn't help me much, though ; 
for I didn't know the names of bars down that way. I 
see I'd got to invent a bar, or forget the name of the 
one we got aground on — or — Now I struck an idea, 
and fetched it out : 

"It warn't the grounding — that didn't keep us 
back but a little. We blowed out a cylinder-head." 

"Good gracious! anybody hurt?" 

"No'm. Killed a nigger." 

"Well, it's lucky; because sometimes people do 
306 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

get hurt. Two years ago last Christmas your uncle 
Silas was coming up from Newrleans on the old Lally 
Rook, and she bio wed out a cylinder-head and crip- 
pled a man. And I think he died afterwards. He 
was a Baptist. Your uncle Silas knowed a family in 
Baton Rouge that knowed his people very well. Yes, 
I remember now, he did die. Mortification set in, 
and they had to amputate him. But it didn't save 
him. Yes, it was mortification — that was it. He 
turned blue all over, and died in the hope of a glorious 
resurrection. They say he was a sight to look at. 
Your uncle's been up to the town every day to fetch 
you. And he's gone again, not more'n an hour ago; 
he'll be back any minute now. You must 'a' met him 
on the road, didn't you? — oldish man, with a — " 

''No, I didn't see nobody, Aunt Sally. The boat 
landed just at daylight, and I left my baggage on the 
wharf-boat and went looking around the town and 
out a piece in the country, to put in the time and not 
get here too soon; and so I come down the back way." 

''Who'd you give the baggage to?" 

"Nobody." 

"Why, child, it '11 be stole!" 
- "Not where I hid it I reckon it won't," I says. 
f "How'd you get your breakfast so early on the 
boat?" 

It was kinder thin ice, but I says : 
■ * * The captain see me standing around, and told me 
I better have something to eat before I went ashore ; 
so he took me in the texas to the officers' lunch, and 
give me all I wanted." 

I was getting so uneasy I couldn't listen good. I 
307 



MARK TWAIN 

had my mind on the children all the time ; I wanted to 
get them out to one side and pump them a little, and 
find out who I was. But I couldn't get no show, 
Mrs. Phelps kept it up and run on so. Pretty soon 
she made the cold chills streak all down my back, 
because she says: 

"But here we're a-running on this way, and you 
hain't told me a word about Sis, nor any of them. 
Now I'll rest my works a little, and you start up 
yourn; just tell me everything — tell me all about 'm 
all — every one of 'm; and how they are, and what 
they're doing, and what they told you to tell me; 
and every last thing you can think of." 

Well, I see I was up a stump — and up it good. 
Providence had stood by me this fur all right, but I 
was hard and tight aground now. I see it warn't a bit 
of use to try to go ahead^I'd got to throw up my 
hand. So I says to myself, here's another place 
where I got to resk the truth. I opened my mouth to 
begin ; but she grabbed me and hustled me in behind 
the bed, and says: 

"Here he comes! Stick your head down lower — ■ 
there, that '11 do; you can't be seen now. Don't you 
let on you're here. I'll play a joke on him. Chil- 
dren, don't you say a word." 

I see I was in a fix now. But it warn't no use to 
worry; there warn't nothing to do but just hold still, 
and try and be ready to stand from under when the 
lightning struck. 

I had just one little glimpse of the old gentleman 
when he come in; then the bed hid him. Mrs, 
Phelps she jumps for him, and says : 

308 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

"Has he come?" 

"No," says her husband. 

" Good-ne ss gracious!" she says, "what in the 
world can have become of him?" 

"I can't imagine," says the old gentleman; "and 
I must say it makes me dreadful uneasy." 

"Uneasy!" she says; "I'm ready to go distracted! 
He must 'sl' come; and you've missed him along the 
road. I know it's so — something tells me so." 

"Why, Sally, I couldnH miss him along the road — 
you know that." 

"But oh, dear, dear, what will Sis say! He must 
'a' come! You must 'a' missed him. He — " 

"Oh, don't distress me any more'n I'm already dis- 
tressed. I don't know what in the world to make of 
it. I'm at my wit's end, and I don't mind acknowl- 
edging 't I'm right down scared. But there's no hope 
that he's come; for he couldnt come and me miss 
him. Sally, it's terrible — just terrible — something's 
happened to the boat, sure!" 

' * Why, Silas ! Look yonder ! — up the road ! — ain't 
that somebody coming?" 

He sprung to the window at the head of the bed, 
and that give Mrs. Phelps the chance she wanted. 
She stooped down quick at the foot of the bed and 
give me a pull, and out I come ; and when he turned 
back from the window there she stood, a-beaming and 
a-smiling Hke a house afire, and I standing pretty 
meek and sweaty alongside. The old gentleman 
stared, and says: 

"Why, who's that?" 

"Who do you reckon 'tis?" 
309 



MARK TWAIN 

"I hain't no idea. Who is it?" 

"It's Tom Sawyer!" 

By jings, I most slumped through the floor! But 
there warn't no time to swap knives; the old man 
grabbed me by the hand and shook, and kept on shak- 
ing; and all the time how the woman did dance 
around and laugh and cry; and then how they both 
did fire off questions about Sid, and Mary, and the 
rest of the tribe. 

But if they was joyful, it warn't nothing to what I 
was ; for it was like being born again, I was so glad to 
find out who I was. Well, they froze to me for two 
hours; and at last, when my chin was so tired it 
couldn't hardly go any more, I had told them more 
about my family — I mean the Sawyer family — than 
ever happened to any six Sawyer families. And I ex- 
plained all about how we blowed out a cylinder-head 
at the mouth of White River, and it took us three 
days to fix it. Which was all right, and worked first- 
rate; because they didn't know but what it would 
take three days to fix it. If I'd 'a' called it a bolt- 
head it would 'a' done just as well. 

Now I was feeling pretty comfortable all down one 
side, and pretty uncomfortable all up the other. Be- 
ing Tom Sawyer was easy and comfortable, and it 
stayed easy and comfortable till by and by I hear a 
steamboat coughing along down the river. Then I 
says to myself, s'pose Tom Sawyer comes down on 
that boat? And s'pose he steps in here any minute, 
and sings out my name before I can throw him a wink 
to keep quiet? 

Well, I couldn't have it that way; it wouldn't do at 
310 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

all. I must go up the road and waylay him. So I 
told the folks I reckoned I would go up to the town 
and fetch down my baggage. The old gentleman was 
for going along with me, but I said no, I could drive 
the horse myself, and I druther he wouldn't take no 
trouble about me. 

21 



CHAPTER XXXIII 

SO I started for town in the wagon, and when I 
was half-way I see a wagon coming, and sure 
enough it was Tom Sawyer, and I stopped and 
waited till he come along. I says ''Hold on!" and it 
stopped alongside, and his mouth opened up like a 
trunk, and stayed so ; and he swallowed two or three 
times like a person that's got a dry throat, and then 
says: 

' ' I hain't ever done you no harm. You know that. 
So, then, what you want to come back and ha'nt me 
for?" 

I says : 

"I hain't come back— I hain't been gone.''' 

When he heard my voice it righted him up some, 
but he warn't quite satisfied yet. He says: 

* * Don't you play nothing on me, because I wouldn't 
on you. Honest injun, you ain't a ghost?" 

"Honest injun, I ain't," I says. 

"Well — I — I — well, that ought to settle it, of 
course; but I can't somehow seem to understand it no 
way. Looky here, warn't you ever murdered at allf' 

"No. I warn't ever murdered at all— I played it 
on them. You come in here and feel of me if you 
don't believe me." 

So he done it; and it satisfied him; and he was 
312 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

that glad to see me again he didn't know what to do. 
And he wanted to know all about it right off, because 
it was a grand adventure, and mysterious, and so it 
hit him where he lived. But I said, leave it alone 
till by and by; and told his driver to wait, and we 
drove off a little piece, and I told him the kind of a 
fix I was in, and what did he reckon we better do? 
He said, let him alone a minute, and don't disturb 
him. So he thought and thought, and pretty soon 
he says: 

"It's all right ; I've got it. Take my trunk in your 
wagon, and let on it's yourn; and you turn back 
and fool along slow, so as to get to the house about 
the time you ought to; and I'll go towards town a 
piece, and take a fresh start, and get there a quarter 
or a half an hour after you; and you needn't let on to 
know me at first." 

I says: 

*'AU right; but wait a minute. There's one more 
thing — a thing that nobody don't know but me. 
And that is, there's a nigger here that I'm a-trying 
to steal out of slavery, and his name is Jim — old Miss 
Watson's Jim." 

He says : 

"What! Why, Jim is— " 

He stopped and went to studying. I says : 

"J know what you'll say. You'll say it's dirty, 
low-down business ; but what if it is ? I'm low down ; 
and I'm a-going to steal him, and I want you keep 
mum and not let on. Will you?" 

His eye lit up, and he says : 

*'r\l help you steal him!" 
313 



MARK TWAIN 

Well, I let go all holts then, like I was shot. It 
was the most astonishing speech I ever heard — and 
I'm bound to say Tom Sawyer fell considerable in my 
estimation. Only I couldn't believe it. Tom Saw- 
yer a nigger-stealer! 

"Oh, shucks!" I says; "you're joking." 

"I ain't joking, either." 

"WeU, then," I says, "joking or no joking, if 
you hear anything said about a runaway nigger, 
don't forget to remember that you don't know 
nothing about him, and / don't know nothing about 
him." 

Then he took the trunk and put it in my wagon, 
and he drove off his way and I drove mine. But of 
course I forgot all about driving slow on accounts of 
being glad and full of thinking ; so I got home a heap 
too quick for that length of a trip. The old gentle- 
man was at the door, and he says : 

"Why, this is wonderful! Whoever would 'a' 
thought it was in that mare to do it? I wish we'd 
'a' timed her. And she hain't sweated a hair — not a 
hair. It's wonderful. Why, I wouldn't take a hun- 
dred dollars for that horse now — I wouldn't, honest ; 
and yet I'd 'a' sold her for fifteen before, and thought 
'twas all she was worth." 

That's all he said. He was the innocentest, best 
old soul I ever see. But it warn't surprising; be- 
cause he warn't only just a farmer, he was a preacher, 
too, and had a little one-horse log church down back 
of the plantation, which he built it himself at his own 
expense, for a church and schoolhouse, and never 
charged nothing for his preaching, and it was worth 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

it, too. There was plenty other farmer-preachers 
like that, and done the same way, down South. 

In about half an hour Tom's wagon drove up to the 
front stile, and Aunt Sally she see it through the win- 
dow, because it was only about fifty yards, and says : 

"Why, there's somebody come! I wonder who 
'tis? Why, I do believe it's a stranger. Jimmy" 
(that's one of the children), "run and tell Lize to put 
on another plate for dinner." 

Everybody made a rush for the front door, because, 
of course, a stranger don't come every year, and so he 
lays over the yaller-fever, for interest, when he does 
come. Tom was over the stile and starting for the 
house; the wagon was spinning up the road for the 
village, and we was all bunched in the frontdoor. 
Tom had his store clothes on, and an audience — and 
that was always nuts for Tom Sawyer. In them cir- 
cumstances it warn't no trouble to him to throw in an 
amount of style that was suitable. He warn't a boy 
to meeky along up that yard like a sheep; no, he 
come ca'm and important, like the ram. When he 
got a-front of us he lifts his hat ever so gracious and 
dainty, like it was the lid of a box that had butterflies 
asleep in it and he didn't want to disturb them, and 
says : 

"Mr. Archibald Nichols, I presume?" 

"No, my boy," says the old gentleman, "I'm 
sorry to say 't your driver has deceived you; Nichols's 
place is down a matter of three mile more. Come in, 
come in." 

Tom he took a look back over his shoulder, and 
says, "Too late — he's out of sight." 

315 



MARK TWAIN 

*'Yes, he's gone, my son, and you must come in 
and eat 3^our dinner with us; and then we'll hitch up 
and take you down to Nichols's." 

"Oh, I cant make you so much trouble; I couldn't 
think of it. I'll walk — I don't mind the distance." 

"But we won't let you walk — it wouldn't be 
Southern hospitality to do it. Come right in." 

"Oh, do," says Aunt Sally; "it ain't a bit of 
trouble to us, not a bit in the world. You must stay. 
It's a long, dusty three mile, and we cant let you 
walk. And, besides, I've already told 'em to put on 
another plate when I see you coming ; so you mustn't 
disappoint us. Come right in and make yourself at 
home." 

So Tom he thanked them very hearty and hand- 
some, and let himself be persuaded, and come in; and 
when he was in he said he was a stranger from Hicks- 
ville, Ohio, and his name was William Thompson — 
and he made another bow. 

Well, he run on, and on, and on, making up stuff 
about Hicksville and everybody in it he could 
invent, and I getting a little nervious, and wondering 
how this was going to help me out of my scrape ; and 
at last, still talking along, he reached over and kissed 
Aunt Sally right on the mouth, and then settled 
back again in his chair comfortable, and was going 
on talking; but she jumped up and wiped it off with 
the back of her hand, and says: 
You o wdacious puppy ! ' ' 

He looked kind of hurt, and says : 

"I'm surprised at you, m'am." 

"You're s'rp — Why, what do you reckon I am? 
316 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

I've a good notion to take and — Say, what do you 
mean by kissing me?" 

He looked kind of humble, and says : 

*'I didn't mean nothing, m'am. I didn't mean 
no harm. I — I — thought you'd like it." 

"Why, you born fool!" She took up the spinning- 
stick, and it looked like it was all she could do to 
keep from giving him a crack with it. "What made 
you think I'd like it?" 

"Well, I don't know. Only, they— they— told 
me you would." 

''They told you I would. Whoever told you's 
another lunatic. I never heard the beat of it. Who's 
theyT' 

"Why, everybody. They all said so, m'am." 

It was all she could do to hold in; and her eyes 
snapped, and her fingers worked like she wanted to 
scratch him; and she says: 

"Who's 'everybody'? Out with their names, or 
ther'll be an idiot short." 

He got up and looked distressed, and fumbled his 
hat, and says: 

"I'm sorry, and I warn't expecting it. They told 
me to. They all told me to. They all said, kiss 
her; and said she'd like it. They all said it— every 
one of them. But I'm sorry, m'am, and I won't do 
it no more — I won't, honest." 

"You won't, won't you? Well, I sh'd reckon you 
won't!" 

"No'm, I'm honest about it; I won't ever do it 
again — till you ask me." 

"Till I ask you! Well, I never see the beat of 
317 



MARK TWAIN 

it in my born days ! I lay you'll be the Methusalem- 
numskull of creation before ever / ask you — or the 
likes of you." 

"Well," he says, "it does surprise me so. I can't 
make it out, somehow. They said you would, and 
I thought you would. But — " He stopped and 
looked around slow, like he wished he could run 
across a friendly eye somewheres, and fetched up on 
the old gentleman's, and says, "Didn't you think 
she'd like me to kiss her, sir?" 

"Why, no; I— I— well, no, I b'lieve I didn't." 

Then he looks on around the same way to me, and 
says: 

"Tom, didn't you think Aunt Sally 'd open out 
her arms and say, 'Sid Sawyer — ' " 

"My land!" she says, breaking in and jumping for 
him, "you impudent young rascal, to fool a body 
so — " and was going to hug him, but he fended her 
off, and says: 

"No, not till you've asked me first." 

So she didn't lose no time, but asked him; and 
hugged him and kissed him over and over again, and 
then turned him over to the old man, and he took 
what was left. And after they got a little quiet 
again she says: 

"Why, dear me, I never see such a surprise. We 
warn't looking for you at all, but only Tom. Sis 
never wrote to me about anybody coming but him." 

"It's because it warn't intended for any of us to 
come but Tom," he says; "but I begged and begged, 
and at the last minute she let me come, too; so, 
coming down the river, me and Tom thought it 

318 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

would be a first-rate surprise for him to come here 
to the house first, and for me to by and by tag along 
and drop in, and let on to be a stranger. But it 
was a mistake, Aunt Sally. This ain't no healthy 
place for a stranger to come." 

"No- — not impudent whelps, Sid. You ought to 
had your jaws boxed; I hain't been so put out since 
I don't know when. But I don't care, I don't mind 
the terms — I'd be willing to stand a thousand such 
jokes to have you here. Well, to think of that per- 
formance! I don't deny it, I was most putrified with 
astonishment when you give me that smack." 

We had dinner out in that broad open passage 
betwixt the house and the kitchen; and there was 
things enough on that table for seven families — and 
all hot, too; none of your flabby, tough meat that's 
laid in a cupboard in a damp cellar all night and 
tastes like a hunk of old cold cannibal in the morning. 
Uncle Silas he asked a pretty long blessing over it, 
but it was worth it; and it didn't cool it a bit, 
neither, the way I've seen them kind of interruptions 
do lots of times. 

There was a considerable good deal of talk all the 
afternoon, and me and Tom was on the lookout all 
the time; but it warn't no use, they didn't happen to 
say nothing about any runaway nigger, and we was 
afraid to try to work up to it. But at supper, at 
night, one of the little boys says : 

"Pa, mayn't Tom and Sid and me go to the show?" 

"No," says the old man, "I reckon there ain't 
going to be any; and you couldn't go if there was; 
because the runaway nigger told Burton and me all 

319 



MARK TWAIN 

about that scandalous show, and Burton said he 
would tell the people; so I reckon they've drove the 
owdacious loafers out of town before this time." 

So there it was ! — but I couldn't help it. Tom and 
me was to sleep in the same room and bed ; so, being 
tired, we bid good night and went up to bed right 
after supper, and dumb out of the window and 
down the lightning-rod, and shoved for the town; 
for I didn't believe anybody was going to give 
the king and the duke a hint, and so if I didn't 
hurry up and give them one they'd get into trouble 
sure. 

On the road Tom he told me all about how it was 
reckoned I was murdered, and how pap disappeared 
pretty soon, and didn't come back no more, and what 
a stir there was when Jim run away ; and I told Tom 
all about our "Royal Nonesuch" rapscallions, and as 
much of the raft voyage as I had time to; and as 
we struck into the town and up through the middle 
of it — ^it was as much as half after eight then — here 
comes a raging rush of people with torches, and an 
awful whooping and yelling, and banging tin pans 
and blowing horns; and we jumped to one side to 
let them go by; and as they went by I see they had 
the king and the duke astraddle of a rail — that is, 
I knowed it was the king and the duke, though they 
was all over tar and feathers, and didn't look like 
nothing in the world that was human — just looked 
like a couple of monstrous big soldier-plumes. Well, 
it made me sick to see it; and I was sorry for them 
poor pitiful rascals, it seemed' like I couldn't ever 
feel any hardness against them any more in the 

320 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

world. It was a dreadful thing to see. Human 
beings can be awful cruel to one another. 

We see we was too late — couldn't do no good. 
We asked some stragglers about it, and they said 
everybody went to the show looking very innocent ; 
and laid low and kept dark till the poor old king was 
in the middle of his cavortings on the stage; then 
somebody give a signal, and the house rose up and 
went for them. 

So we poked along back home, and I warn't feeling 
so brash as I was before, but kind of ornery, and 
humble, and to blame, somehow — though I hadn't 
done nothing. But that's always the way; it don't 
make no difference whether you do right or wrong, 
a person's conscience ain't got no sense, and just 
goes for him anyway. If I had a yaller dog that 
didn't know no more than a person's conscience does 
I would pison him. It takes up more room than 
all the rest of a person's insides, and yet ain't no 
good, nohow. Tom Sawyer he says the same. 



CHAPTER XXXIV 

WE stopped talkinr, and got to thinking. By 
and by Tom sayG : 

"Looky here, Huck, what fools we are to not 
think of it before! I bet I know where Jim is." 

"No! Where?" 

"In that hut down by the ash-hopper. Why, 
looky here. When we was at dinner, didn't you see 
a nigger man go in there with some vittles?" 

"Yes." 

"What did you think the vittles was for?" 

"For a dog." 

"So 'd I. Well, it wasn't for a dog." 

"Why?" 

"Because part of it was watermelon." • 

"So it was — I noticed it. Well, it does beat all 
that I never thought about a dog not eating water- 
melon. It shows how a body can see and don't see 
at the same time." 

"Well, the nigger unlocked the padlock when he 
went in, and he locked it again when he came out. 
He fetched uncle a key about the time w^e got up 
from table— same key, I bet. Watermelon shows 
man, lock shows prisoner; and it ain't likely there's 
two prisoners on such a little plantation, and where 
the people's all so kind and good. Jim's the pris- 

322 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

oner. All right— I'm glad we found it out detective 
fashion; I wouldn't give shucks for any other way. 
Now you work your mind, and study out a plan to 
steal Jim, and I will study out one, too; and we'll 
take the one we like the best." 

What a head for just a boy to have ! If I had Tom 
Sawyer's head I wouldn't trade it off to be a duke, nor 
mate of a steamboat, nor clown in a circus, nor noth- 
ing I can think of. I went to thinking out a plan, but 
only just to be doing something; I knowed very 
well where the right plan was going to come from. 
Pretty soon Tom says : 

''Ready?" 

*'Yes," I says. 

"All right— bring it out." 

"My plan is this," I says. "We can easy find out 
if it's Jim in there. Then get up my canoe to-morrow 
night, and fetch my raft over from the island. Then 
the first dark night that comes steal the key out of 
the old man's britches after he goes to bed, and 
shove off down the river on the raft with Jim, 
hiding daytimes and running nights, the way me 
and Jim used to do before. Wouldn't that plan 
work?" 

''Work? Why, cert'nly it would work, like rats 
a-fighting. But it's too blame' simple; there ain't 
nothing to it. What's the good of a plan that ain't 
no more trouble than that? It's as mild as goose- 
milk. Why, Huck, it wouldn't make no more talk 
than breaking into a soap factory." 

I never said nothing, because I warn't expecting 
nothing different; but I knowed mighty well that 

323 



MARK TWAIN 

whenever he got his plan ready it wouldn't have none 
of them objections to it. 

And it didn't. He told me what it was, and I see 
in a minute it was worth fifteen of mine for style, and 
would make Jim just as free a man as mine would, 
and maybe get us all killed besides. So I was satis- 
fied, and said we would waltz in on it. I needn't tell 
what it was here, because I knowed it wouldn't stay 
the way it was. I knowed he would be changing it 
around every which way as we went along, and heav- 
ing in new bullinesses wherever he got a chance. 
And that is what he done. 

Well, one thing was dead sure, and that was that 
Tom Sawyer was in earnest, and was actuly going to 
help steal that nigger out of slavery. That was the 
thing that was too many for me. Here was a boy 
that was respectable and well brung up; and had 
a character to lose ; and folks at home that had char- 
acters; and he was bright and not leather-headed; 
and knowing and not ignorant; and not mean, but 
kind; and yet here he was, without any more pride, 
or rightness, or feeling, than to stoop to this business, 
and make himself a shame, and his family a shame, 
before everybody. I couldn't understand it no way 
at all. It was outrageous, and I knowed I ought to 
just up and tell him so; and so be his true friend, and 
let him quit the thing right where he was and save 
himself. And I did start to tell him ; but he shut me 
up, and says : 

* ' Don't you reckon I know what I*m about ? Don't 
I generly know what I'm about?" 

"Yes." 

334 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

"Didn't I say I was going to help steal the nigger?" 

"Yes." 

''Well, then." 

That's all he said, and that's all I said. It warn't 
no use to say any more; because when he said he'd 
do a thing, he always done it. But I couldn't make 
out how he was wilhng to go into this thing; so I 
just let it go, and never bothered no more about it. 
If he was bound to have it so, / couldn't help it. 

When we got home the house was all dark and still ; 
so we went on down to the hut by the ash-hopper for 
to examine it. We went through the yard so as to 
see what the hounds would do. They knowed hs, 
and didn't make no more noise than country dogs is 
always doing when anything comes by in the night. 
When we got to the cabin we took a look at the front 
and the two sides; and on the side I warn't ac- 
quainted with — which was the north side — we found 
a square window-hole, up tolerable high, with just 
one stout board nailed across it. I says : 

' ' Here's the ticket. This hole's big enough for Jim 
to get through if we wrench off the board." 

Tom says: 

"It's as simple as tit-tat-toe, three-in-a-row, and 
as easy as playing hooky. I should hope we can find 
a way that's a little more complicated than that, 
Huck Finn." 

"Well, then," I says, "how'll it do to saw him 
out, the way I done before I was murdered that 
time?" 

"That's more like,'' he says. "It's real mysterious, 
and troublesome, and good," he says; "but I bet we 

325 



MARK TWAIN 

can find a way that's twice as long. There ain't no 
hurry; le's keep on looking around." 

Betwixt the hut and the fence, on the back side, 
was a lean-to that joined the hut at the eaves, and 
was made out of plank. It was as long as the hut, 
but narrow — only about six foot wide. The door to 
it was at the south end, and was padlocked. Tom he 
went to the soap-kettle and searched around, and 
fetched back the iron thing they lift the lid with; so 
he took it and prized out one of the staples. The 
chain fell down, and we opened the door and went in, 
and shut it, and struck a match, and see the shed 
was only built against a cabin and hadn't no connec- 
tion with it ; and there warn't no floor to the shed, nor 
nothing in it but some old rusty played-out hoes 
and spades and picks and a crippled plow. The 
match went out, and so did we, and shoved in the 
staple again, and the door was locked as good as 
ever. Tom was joyful. He says : 

"Now we're all right. We'll dig him out. It '11 
take about a week!" 

Then we started for the house, and I went in the 
back door — you only have to pull a buckskin latch- 
string, they don't fasten the doors — but that warn't 
romantical enough for Tom Sawyer; no way would 
do him but he must climb up the lightning-rod. But 
after he got up half-way about three times, and missed 
fire and fell every time, and the last time most busted 
his brains out, he thought he'd got to give it up; but 
after he was rested he allowed he would give her one 
more turn for luck, and this time he made the trip. 

In the morning we was up at break of day, and 
326 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

down to the nigger cabins to pet the dogs and make 
friends with the nigger that fed Jim — if it was Jim 
that was being fed. The niggers was just getting 
through breakfast and starting for the fields; and 
Jim's nigger was piHng up a tin pan with bread and 
meat and things; and whilst the others was leaving, 
the key come from the house. 

This nigger had a good-natured, chuckle-headed 
face, and his wool was all tied up in little bunches 
with thread. That was to keep witches off. He said 
the witches was pestering him awful these nights, 
and making him see all kinds of strange things, and 
hear all kinds of strange words and noises, and he 
didn't believe he was ever witched so long before in 
his life. He got so worked up, and got to running on 
so about his troubles, he forgot all about what he'd 
been a-going to do. So Tom says: 

''What's the vittles for? Going to feed the dogs?" 

The nigger kind of smiled around graduly over his 
face, like when you heave a brickbat in a mud-puddle, 
and he says : 

"Yes, Mars Sid, a dog. Cur 'us dog, too. Does 
you want to go en look at 'im?" 

"Yes." 

I hunched Tom, and whispers: 

"You going, right here in the daybreak? That 
warn't the plan." 

"No, it warn't; but it's the plan now.'' 

So, drat him, we went along, but I didn't like it 
much. When we got in we couldn't hardly see any- 
thing, it was so dark ; but Jim was there, sure enough, 
and could see us; and he sings out: 
22 327 

lb 



MARK TWAIN 

"Why, Huck! En good Ian! ain' dat Misto Tom?" 

I just knowed how it would be; I just expected it. 

/ didn't know nothing to do; and if I had I couldn't 

'a' done it, because that nigger busted in and says: 

"Why, de gracious sakes! do he know you genl- 



men 



We could see pretty w^ell now. Tom he looked at 
the nigger, steady and kind of wondering, and says: 

"Does who know us?" 

"Why, dis-yer runaway nigger." 

"I don't reckon he does; but what put that into 
3^our head?" 

"What pitt it dar? Didn' he jis' dis minute sing 
out like he knowed you?" 

Tom says, in a puzzled-up kind of way: 

"Well, that's mighty curious. Who sung out? 
ly/z^n did he sing out ? IF/za/ did he sing out?" And 
turns to me, perfectly ca'm, and says, "Did you 
hear anybody sing out?" 

Of course there warn't nothing to be said but the 
one thing; so I says: 

"No; I ain't heard nobody say nothing." 

Then he turns to Jim, and looks him over like he 
never see him before, and says: 

"Did you sing out?" 

"No, sah," says Jim; "J hain't said nothing, sah." 

"Not a word?" 

"No, sah, I hain't said a word." 

"Did you ever see us before?" 

"No, sah; not as / knows on." 

So Tom turns to the nigger, which was looking 
wild and distressed, and says, kind of severe: 

328 



^fti 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

"What do you reckon 's the matter with you, any- 
way? What made you think somebody sung out?" 

''Oh, it's de dad-blame' witches, sah, en I wisht I 
was dead, I do. Dey's awluz at it, sah, en dey do 
mos' kill me, dey sk'yers me so. Please to don't tell 
nobody 'bout it sah, er ole Mars Silas he'll scole me; 
'kase he say dey ain't no witches. I jis' wish to good- 
ness he was heah now — den what would he say! I 
jis' bet he couldn' fine no way to git aroun' it dis 
time. But it's awluz jis' so; people dat's sot, stays 
sot; dey won't look into noth'n' en fine it out f'r dey- 
selves, en when yon fine it out en tell um 'bout it, 
dey doan' b'lieve you." 

Tom give him a dime, and said we wouldn't tell no- 
body; and told him to buy some more thread to tie 
up his wool with; and then looks at Jim, and says: 

* ' I wonder if Uncle Silas is going to hang this nig- 
ger. If I was to catch a nigger that was ungrateful 
enough to run away, I wouldn't give him up, I'd 
hang him." And w^hilst the nigger stepped to the 
door to look at the dime and bite it to see if it was 
good, he whispers to Jim and says : 

''Don't ever let on to know us. And if you hear 
any digging going on nights, it's us; we're going to 
set you free." 

Jim only had time to grab us by the hand and 
squeeze it; then the nigger come back, and we said 
we'd come again some time if the nigger wanted us 
to; and he said he would, more particular if it was 
dark, because the witches went for him mostly in 
the daxk, and it was good to have folks around then. 



CHAPTER XXXV 

IT would be most an hour yet till breakfast, so we 
left and struck down into the woods; because 
Tom said we got to have some light to see how to dig 
by, and a lantern makes too much, and might get 
us into trouble; what we must have was a lot of 
them rotten chunks that's called fox-fire, and just 
makes a soft kind of a glow when you lay them in a 
dark place. We fetched an armful and hid it in the 
weeds, and set down to rest, and Tom says, kind of 
dissatisfied : 

** Blame it, this whole thing is just as easy and 
awkward as it can be. And so it makes it so rotten 
difficult to get up a difficult plan. There ain't no 
watchman to be drugged — now there ought to be a 
watchman. There ain't even a dog to give a sleeping- 
mixture to. And there's Jim chained by one leg, 
with a ten-foot chain, to the leg of his bed : why, all 
you got to do is to life up the bedstead and slip off 
the chain. And Uncle Silas he trusts everybody; 
sends the key to the punkin-headed nigger, and don't 
send nobody to watch the nigger. Jim could 'a' got 
out of that window-hole before this, only there 
wouldn't be no use trying to travel with a ten-foot 
chain on his leg. Why, drat it, Huck, it's the stupid- 
est arrangement I ever see. You got to invent all 

330 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

the difficulties. Well, we can't help it; we got to 
do the best we can with the materials we've got. 
Anyhow, there's one thing — there's more honor in 
getting him out through a lot of difficulties and 
dangers, where there warn't one of them furnished 
to you by the people who it was their duty to furnish 
them, and you had to contrive them all out of your 
own head. Now look at just that one thing of the 
lantern. When you come down to the cold facts, we 
simply got to let on that a lantern's resky. Why, we 
could work with a torchlight procession if we wanted 
to, I believe. Now, whilst I think of it, we got to 
hunt up something to make a saw out of the first 
chance we get." 

*'What do we want of a saw?" 

''What do we want of a saw? Hain't we got to 
saw the leg of Jim's bed off, so as to get the chain 
loose?" 

"Why, you just said a body could lift up the bed- 
stead and slip the chain off." 

''Well, if that ain't just like you, Huck Finn. You 
can get up the infant-schooliest ways of going at a 
thing. Why, hain't you ever read any books at all ? — 
Baron Trenck, nor Casanova, nor Benvenuto Chel- 
leeny, nor Henri IV., nor none of them heroes? Who 
ever heard of getting a prisoner loose in such an old- 
maidy way as that ? No ; the way all the best author- 
ities does is to saw the bed-leg in two, and leave it 
just so, and swallow the sawdust, so it can't be found, 
and put some dirt and grease around the sawed place 
so the very keenest seneskal can't see no sign of its 
being sawed, and thinks the bed-leg is perfectly 

33^ 



MARK TWAIN 

sound. Then, the night you're ready, fetch the leg 
a kick, down she goes ; shp off your chain, and there 
you are. Nothing to do but hitch your rope ladder 
to the battlements, shin down it, break your leg in 
the moat — because a rope ladder is nineteen foot too 
short, you know — and there's your horses and your 
trusty vassles, and they scoop you up and fling you 
across a saddle, and away you go to your native 
Langudoc, or Navarre, or wherever it is. It's gaudy, 
Huck. I wish there was a moat to this cabin. If we 
get time, the night of the escape, we'll dig one." 

I says: 

*'What do we want of a moat when we're going to 
snake him out from under the cabin?" 

But he never heard me. He had forgot me and 
everything else. He had his chin in his hand, think- 
ing. Pretty soon he sighs and shakes his head ; then 
sighs again, and says: 

**No, it wouldn't do — there ain't necessity enough 
for it." 

"For what?" I says. 

"Why, to saw Jim's leg off," he says. 

"Good land!" I says; "why, there ain't no neces- 
sity for it. And what would you want to saw his leg 
off for, anyway?" 

"Well, some of the best authorities has done it. 
They couldn't get the chain off, so they just cut their 
hand off and shoved. And a leg would be better still. 
But we got to let that go. There ain't necessity 
enough in this case; and, besides, Jim's a nigger, and 
wouldn't understand the reasons for it, and how it's 
the custom in Europe ; so we'll let it go. But there's 

332 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

one thing — he can have a rope ladder ; we can tear 
up our sheets and make him a rope ladder easy 
enough. And we can send it to him in a pie; it's 
mostly done that way. And I've et worse pies." 

''Why, Tom Sawyer, how you talk," I says; "Jim 
ain't got no use for a rope ladder." 

"He has got use for it. How you talk, you better 
say; you don't know nothing about it. He's got to 
have a rope ladder; they all do." 

"What in the nation can he do with it?" 

''Do with it? He can hide it in his bed, can't he? 
That's what they all do; and he's got to, too. 
Huck, you don't ever seem to want to do anything 
that's regular; you want to be starting something 
fresh all the time. S'pose he dont do nothing with 
it? ain't it there in his bed, for a clue, after he's 
gone? and don't you reckon they'll want clues? Of 
course they will. And you wouldn't leave them 
any? That would be a pretty howdy-do, wouldnt it! 
I never heard of such a thing. ' ' 

"Well," I says, "if it's in the regulations, and he's 
got to have it, all right, let him have it; because I 
don't wish to go back on no regulations ; but there's 
one thing, Tom Sawyer — if we go to tearing up our 
sheets to make Jim a rope ladder, we're going to get 
into trouble with Aunt Sally, just as sure as you're 
born. Now, the way I look at it, a hickry-bark lad- 
der don't cost nothing, and don't waste nothing, and 
is just as good to load up a pie with, and hide in a 
straw tick, as any rag ladder you can start ; and as for 
Jim, he ain't had no experience, and so he don't care 
what kind of a — " 

333 



MARK TWAIN 

*'0h, shucks, Huck Finn, if I was as ignorant as 
you I'd keep still— that's what Fd do. Who ever 
heard of a state prisoner escaping by a hickry-bark 
ladder? Why, it's perfectly ridiculous." 

**Well, all right, Tom, fix it your own way; but if 
you'll take my advice, you'll let me borrow a sheet 
ofl of the clothes-line." 

He said that would do. And that gave him another 
idea, and he says : 

'* Borrow a shirt, too." 
"What do we want of a shirt, Tom?" 
"Want it for Jim to keep a journal on." 
"Journal your granny — Jim can't write." 
"S'pose he cant write — he can make marks on 
the shirt, can't he, if we make him a pen out of 
an old pewter spoon or a piece of an old iron barrel- 
hoop?" 

"Why, Tom, we can pull a feather out of a goose 
and make him a better one; and quicker, too." 

''Prisoners don't have geese running around the 
donjon-keep to pull pens out of, you muggins. They 
always make their pens out of the hardest, toughest, 
troublesomest piece of old brass candlestick or some- 
thing like that they can get their hands on; and it 
takes them weeks and weeks and months and months 
to file it out, too, because they've got to do it by rub- 
bing it on the wall. They wouldn't use a goose-quill 
if they had it. It ain't regular." 

"Well, then, what '11 we make him the ink out of?" 
"Many makes it out of iron-rust and tears; but 
that's the common sort and women; the best authori- 
ties uses their own blood. Jim can do that ; and when 

334 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

he wants to send any little common ordinary mys- 
terious message to let the world know where he's 
captivated, he can write it on the bottom of a tin 
plate with a fork and throw it out of the window. 
The Iron Mask always done that, and it's a blame' 
good way, too." 

"Jim ain't got no tin plates. They feed him in a 
pan." 

"That ain't nothing; we can get him some." 

"Can't nobody read his plates." 

"That ain't got anything to do with it, Huck Finn. 
All he's got to do is to write on the plate and throw 
it out. You don't have to be able to read it. Why, 
half the time you can't read anything a prisoner 
writes on a tin plate, or anywhere else." 

"Well, then, what's the sense in wasting the 
plates?" 

"Why, blame it all, it ain't the prisoner's plates." 

"But it's somebody's plates, ain't it?" 

"Well, spos'n it is? What does the prisoner care 
whose — " 

He broke off there, because we heard the breakfast- 
horn blowing. So we cleared out for the house. 

Along during the morning I borrowed a sheet and a 
white shirt off of the clothes-line; and I found an old 
sack and put them in it, and we went down and got 
the fox-fire, and put that in too. I called it borrow- 
ing, because that was what pap always called it ; but 
Tom said it warn't borrowing, it was stealing. He 
said we was representing prisoners; and prisoners 
don't care how they get a thing so they get it, and 
nobody don't blame them for it, either. It ain't no 

335 



MARK TWAIN 

crime in a prisoner to steal the thing he needs to 
get away with, Tom said; it's his right; and so, as 
long as we was representing a prisoner, we had a 
perfect right to steal anything on this place we had 
the least use for to get ourselves out of prison with. 
He said if we warn't prisoners it would be a very 
different thing, and nobody but a mean, ornery per- 
son would steal when he warn't a prisoner. So we 
allowed we would steal everything there was that 
come handy. And yet he made a mighty fuss, one 
day, after that, when I stole a watermelon out of the 
nigger patch and eat it ; and he made me go and give 
the niggers a dime without telling them what it was 
for. Tom said that what he meant was, we could 
steal anything we needed. Well, I says, I needed the 
watermelon. But he said I didn't need it to get out 
of prison with ; there's where the difference was. 
He said if I'd 'a' wanted it to hide a knife in, and 
smuggle it to Jim to kill the seneskal with, it would 
'a' been all right. So I let it go at that, though I 
couldn't see no advantage in my representing a 
prisoner if I got to set down and chaw over a lot 
of gold-leaf distinctions like that every time I see a 
chance to hog a watermelon. 

Well, as I was saying, we waited that morning till 
everybody was settled down to business, and nobody 
in sight around the yard; then Tom he carried the 
sack into the lean-to whilst I stood off a piece to keep 
watch. By and by he come out, and we went and set 
down on the woodpile to talk. He says: 

"Everything's all right now except tools; and 
that's easy fixed." 

336 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

''Tools?" I says. 

"Yes." 

"Tools for what?" 

"Why, to dig with. We ain't a-going to gnaw him 
out, are we?" 

"Ain't them old crippled picks and things in there 
good enough to dig a nigger out with?" I says. 

He turns on me, looking pitying enough to make a 
body cry, and says : 

' ' Huck Finn, did you ever hear of a prisoner having 
picks and shovels, and all the modern conveniences in 
his wardrobe to dig himself out with ? Now I want to 
ask you — if you got any reasonableness in you at all 
— what kind of a show would that give him to be a 
hero ? Why, they might as well lend him the key and 
done with it. Picks and shovels — why, they wouldn't 
furnish 'em to a king." 

"Well, then," I says, "if we don't want the picks 
and shovels, what do we want?" 

"A couple of case-knives." 

' * To dig the foundations out from under that cabin 
with?" 

"Yes." 

"Confound it, it's foolish, Tom." 

"It don't make no difference how foolish it is, it's 
the right way — and it's the regular way. And there 
ain't no other way, that ever / heard of, and I've read 
all the books that gives any information about these 
things. They always dig out with a case-knife — and 
not through dirt, mind you; generly it's through 
solid rock. And it takes them weeks and weeks and 
weeks, and for ever and ever. Why, look at one of 

337 



MARK TWAIN 

them prisoners in the bottom dungeon of the Castle 
Deef, in the harbor of Marseilles, that dug himself 
out that way; how long was he at it, you reckon?" 

"I don't know." 

''Well, guess." 

"I don't know. A month and a half." 

^'Thirty- seven year — and he come out in China. 
That's the kind. I wish the bottom of this fortress 
was solid rock." 

''Jim don't know nobody in China." 

"What's that got to do with it? Neither did that 
other fellow. But you're always a-wandering off on 
a side issue. Why can't you stick to the main 
point?" 

• "All right — I don't care where he comes out, so he 
comes out; and Jim don't, either, I reckon. But 
there's one thing, anyway — Jim's too old to be dug 
out with a case-knife. He won't last." 

"Yes he will last, too. You don't reckon it's going 
to take thirty-seven years to dig out through a dirt 
foundation, do you?" 

"How long will it take, Tom?" 

"Well, we can't resk being as long as we ought to, 
because it mayn't take very long for Uncle Silas to 
hear from down there by New Orleans. He'll hear 
Jim ain't from there. Then his next move will be to 
advertise Jim, or something like that. So we can't 
resk being as long digging him out as we ought to. 
By rights I reckon we ought to be a couple of years ; 
but we can't. Things being so uncertain, what I 
recommend is this: that we really dig right in, as 
quick as we can; and after that, we can let on, to 

338 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

ourselves, that we was at it thirty-seven years. 
Then we can snatch him out and rush him away 
the first time there's an alarm. Yes, I reckon that '11 
be the best way." 

' * Now, there's sense in that," I says. ' ' Letting on 
don't cost nothing; letting on ain't no trouble; and 
if it's any object, I don't mind letting on we was at it 
a hundred and fifty year. It wouldn't strain me 
none, after I got my hand in. So I'll mosey along 
now, and smouch a couple of case-knives." 

"Smouch three," he says; "we want one to make 
a saw out of." 

"Tom, if it ain't unregular and irreligious to sejest 
it," I says, "there's an old rusty saw-blade around 
yonder sticking under the weather-boarding behind 
the smokehouse." 

He looked kind of weary and discouraged-like, and 
says: 

"It ain't no use to try to learn you nothing, Huck. 
Run along and smouch the knives — three of them." 
So I done it. 



CHAPTER XXXVI 

AS soon as we reckoned everybody was asleep 
/y that night we went down the Hghtning-rod, and 
shut ourselves up in the lean-to, and got out our 
pile of fox-fire, and went to work. We cleared 
everything out of the way, about four or five foot 
along the middle of the bottom log. Tom said we 
was right behind Jim's bed now, and we'd dig in 
under it, and when we got through there couldn't 
nobody in the cabin ever know there was any hole 
there, because Jim's counterpin hung down most to 
the ground, and you'd have to raise it up and look 
under to see the hole. So we dug and dug with the 
case-knives till most midnight; and then we was 
dog-tired, and our hands was blistered, and yet you 
couldn't see we'd done anything hardly. At last 
I says: 

"This ain't no thirty-seven-year job; this is a 
thirty-eight-year job, Tom Sawyer." 

He never said nothing. But he sighed, and pretty 
soon he stopped digging, and then for a good little 
while I knowed that he was thinking. Then he says : 

"It ain't no use, Huck, it ain't a-going to work. 
If we was prisoners it would, because then we'd have 
as many years as we wanted, and no hurry; and we 
wouldn't get but a few minutes to dig, every day, 

340 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

while they was changing watches, and so our hands 
wouldn't get bHstered, and we could keep it up right 
along, year in and year out, and do it right, and the 
way it ought to be done. But we can't fool along; 
we got to rush; we ain't got no time to spare. If 
we was to put in another night this way we'd have 
to knock off for a week to let our hands get well — 
couldn't touch a case-knife with them sooner." 

*'Well, then, what we going to do, Tom?" 

"I'll tell you. It ain't right, and it ain't moral, 
and I wouldn't like it to get out ; but there ain't only 
just the one way: we got to dig him out with the 
picks, and let on it's case-knives." 

"Now you're talking!'' I says; ''your head gets 
leveler and leveler all the time, Tom Sawyer," I 
says. "Picks is the thing, moral or no moral; and 
as for me, I don't care shucks for the morality of it, 
nohow. When I start in to steal a nigger, or a 
watermelon, or a Sunday-school book, I ain't no 
ways particular how it's done so it's done. What I 
want is my nigger; or what I want is my watermelon; 
or what I want is my Sunday-school book; and if a 
pick's the handiest thing, that's the thing I'm 
a-going to dig that nigger or that watermelon or that 
Sunday-school book out with; and I don't give a dead 
rat what the authorities thinks about it nuther." 

"Well," he says, "there's excuse for picks and 
letting on in a case like this ; if it warn't so, I wouldn't 
approve of it, nor I wouldn't stand by and see the 
rules broke — because right is right, and wrong is 
wrong, and a body ain't got no business doing wrong 
when he ain't ignorant and knows better. It might 

341 



MARK TWAIN 

answer for you to dig Jim out with a pick, without 
any letting on, because you don't know no better; 
but it wouldn't for me, because I do know better. 
Gimme a case-knife." 

He had his own by him, but I handed him mine. 
He flung it down, and says: 

''Gimme a case-knife.'' 

I didn't know just what to do — but then I thought. 
I scratched around amongst the old tools, and got 
a pickax and give it to him, and he took it and 
went to work, and never said a word. 

He was always just that particular. Full of prin- 
ciple. 

So then I got a shovel, and then we picked and 
shoveled, turn about, and made the fur fly. We 
stuck to it about a half an hour, which was as long 
as we could stand up; but we had a good deal of a 
hole to show for it. When I got up-stairs I looked 
out at the window and see Tom doing his level best 
with the lightning-rod, but he couldn't come it, his 
hands was so sore. At last he says: 

"It ain't no use, it can't be done. What you 
reckon I better do? Can't you think of no way?" 

"Yes," I says, "but I reckon it ain't regular. 
Come up the stairs, and let on it's a lightning-rod." 

So he done it. 

Next day Tom stole a pewter spoon and a brass 
candlestick in the house, for to make some pens for 
Jim out of, and six tallow candles ; and I hung around 
the nigger cabins and laid for a chance, and stole 
three tin plates. Tom says it wasn't enough; but 
I said nobody wouldn't ever see the plates that Jim 

342 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

thro wed out, because they'd fall in the dog-fennel 
and jimpson weeds under the window-hole — then we 
could tote them back and he could use them over 
again. So Tom was satisfied. Then he says: 

''Now, the thing to study out is, how to get the 
things to Jim." 

"Take them in through the hole," I says, "when 
we get it done." 

He only just looked scornful, and said something 
about nobody ever heard of such an idiotic idea, and 
then he went to studying. By and by he said he 
had ciphered out two or three ways, but there wam't 
no need to decide on any of them yet. Said we'd 
got to post Jim first. 

That night we went down the lightning-rod a little 
after ten, and took one of the candles along, and 
listened under the window-hole, and heard Jim 
snoring; so we pitched it in, and it didn't wake him. 
Then we whirled in with the pick and shovel, and 
in about two hours and a half the job was done. We 
crept in under Jim's bed and into the cabin, and 
pawed around and found the candle and lit it, and 
stood over Jim awhile, and found him looking hearty 
and healthy, and then we woke him up gentle and 
gradual. He was so glad to see us he most cried; 
and called us honey, and all the pet names he could 
think of; and was for having us hunt up a cold-chisel 
to cut the chain off of his leg with right away, and 
clearing out without losing any time. But Tom he 
showed him how unregular it would be, and set 
down and told him all about our plans, and how we 
could alter them in a minute any time there was an 
23 343 



MARK TWAIN 

alarm; and not to be the least afraid, because we 
would see he got away, sure. So Jim he said it was 
all right, and we set there and talked over old times 
awhile, and then Tom asked a lot of questions, and 
when Jim told him Uncle Silas come in every day 
or two to pray with him, and Aunt Sally come in to 
see if he was comfortable and had plenty to eat, and 
both of them was kind as they could be, Tom says: 

''Now I know how to fix it. We'll send you some 
things by them." 

I said, ' ' Don't do nothing of the kind ; it's one of 
the most jackass ideas I ever struck"; but he never 
paid no attention to me; went right on. It was his 
way when he'd got his plans set. 

So he told Jim how we'd have to smuggle in the 
rope-ladder pie and other large things by Nat, the 
nigger that fed him, and he must be on the lookout, 
and not be surprised, and not let Nat see him open 
them ; and we would put small things in uncle's coat 
pockets and he must steal them out; and we would 
tie things to aunt's apron-strings or put them in her 
apron pocket, if we got a chance; and told him what 
they would be and what they was for. And told him 
how to keep a journal on the shirt with his blood, 
and all that. He told him everything. Jim he 
couldn't see no sense in the most of it, but he allowed 
we was white folks and knowed better than him; so 
he was satisfied, and said he would do it all just as 
Tom said. 

Jim had plenty corn-cob pipes and tobacco; so 
we had a right down good sociable time; then we 
crawled out through the hole, and so home to bed, 

344 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

with hands that looked Hke they'd been chawed. 
Tom was in high spirits. He said it was the best 
fun he ever had in his Hfe, and the most intellectural ; 
and said if he only could see his way to it we would 
keep it up all the rest of our lives and leave Jim to 
our children to get out; for he believed Jim would 
come to like it better and better the more he got 
used to it. He said that in that way it could be 
strung out to as much as eighty year, and would be 
the best time on record. And he said it would make 
us all celebrated that had a hand in it. 

In the morning we went out to the woodpile and 
chopped up the brass candlestick into handy sizes, 
and Tom put them and the pewter spoon in his 
pocket. Then we went to the nigger cabins, and 
while I got Nat's notice off, Tom shoved a piece of 
candlestick into the middle of a corn-pone that was 
in Jim's pan, and we went along with Nat to see 
how it would work, and it just worked noble; when 
Jim bit into it it most mashed all his teeth out ; and 
there warn't ever anything could 'a' worked better. 
Tom said so himself. Jim he never let on but what 
it was only just a piece of rock or something like that 
that's always getting into bread, you know; but after 
that he never bit into nothing but what he jabbed 
his fork into it in three or four places first. 

And whilst we was a-standing there in the dim- 
mish light, here comes a couple of the hounds bulging 
in from under Jim's bed; and they kept on piling in 
till there was eleven of them, and there warn't 
hardly room in there to get your breath. By jings, 
we forgot to fasten that lean-to door! The nigger 

345 



MARK TWAIN 

Nat he only just hollered ''Witches" once, and 
keeled over onto the floor amongst the dogs, and 
begun to groan like he was dying. Tom jerked the 
door open and flung out a slab of Jim's meat, and 
the dogs went for it, and in two seconds he was out 
himself and back again and shut the door, and I 
knowed he'd fixed the other door too. Then he 
went to work on the nigger, coaxing him and petting 
him, and asking him if he'd been imagining he saw 
something again. He raised up, and blinked his 
eyes around, and says : 

**Mars Sid, you'll say I's a fool, but if I didn't 
b'lieve I see most a million dogs, er devils, er some'n, 
I wisht I may die right heah in dese tracks. I did, 
mos' sholy. Mars Sid, I felt um — I felt um, sah; 
dey was all over me. Dad fetch it, I jis' wisht I 
could git my han's on one er dem witches jis' wunst 
— on'y jis' wunst — it's all I'd ast. But mos'ly I 
wisht dey'd lemme 'lone, I does." 

Tom says : 

"Well, I tell you what I think. What makes 
them come here just at this runaway nigger's break- 
fast-time? It's because they're hungry; that's the 
reason. You make them a witch pie; that's the 
thing for you to do." 

"But my Ian', Mars Sid, how's I gwyne to make 
*m a witch pie? I doan' know how to make it. I 
hain't ever hearn er sich a thing b'fo*." 

"Well, then, I'll have to make it myself." 

"Will you do it, honey? — will you? I'll wusshup 
de groun' und' yo' foot, I will!" 

"All right, I'll do it, seeing it's you, and you've 
346 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

been good to us and showed us the runaway nigger. 
But you got to be mighty careful. When we come 
around, you turn your back; and then whatever 
we've put in the pan, don't you let on you see it at 
all. And don't you look when Jim unloads the pan 
— something might happen, I don't know what. 
And above all, don't you handle the witch things." 
"Hannel 'm, Mars Sid? What is you a-talkin' 
'bout? I wouldn' lay de weight er my finger on 
um, not f'r ten hund'd thous'n billion dollars, I 
wouldn't." 



CHAPTER XXXVII 

THAT was all fixed. So then we went away and 
went to the rubbage-pile in the back yard, 
where they keep the old boots, and rags, and pieces 
of bottles, and wore-out tin things, and all such 
truck, and scratched around and found an old tin 
washpan, and stopped up the holes as well as we 
could, to bake the pie in, and took it down cellar and 
stole it full of flour and started for breakfast, and 
found a couple of shingle-nails that Tom said would 
be handy for a prisoner to scrabble his name and 
sorrows on the dungeon walls with, and dropped one 
of them in Aunt Sally's apron p)Ocket which was 
hanging on a chair, and t'other we stuck in the band 
of Uncle Silas's hat, which was on the bureau, be- 
cause we heard the children say their pa and ma was 
going to the runaway nigger's house this morning, 
and then went to breakfast, and Tom dropped the 
pewter spoon in Uncle Silas's coat pocket, and Aunt 
Sally wasn't come yet, so we had to wait a little 
while. 

And when she come she was hot and red and cross, 
and couldn't hardly wait for the blessing; and then 
she went to sluicing out coffee with one hand and 
cracking the handiest child's head with her thimble 
with the other, and says: 

348 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

"I've hunted high and I've hunted low, and it 
does beat all what has become of your other shirt." 

My heart fell down amongst my lungs and livers 
and things, and a hard piece of corn-crust started 
down my throat after it and got met on the road 
with a cough, and was shot across the table, and 
took one of the children in the eye and curled him 
up like a fishing- worm, and let a cry out of him the 
size of a war-whoop, and Tom he turned kinder blue 
around the gills, and it all amounted to a consider- 
able state of things for about a quarter of a minute 
or as much as that, and I would 'a' sold out for half 
price if there was a bidder. But after that we was 
all right again — it was the sudden surprise of it that 
knocked us so kind of cold. Uncle Silas he says: 

"It's most uncommon curious, I can't understand 
it. I know perfectly well I took it of, because — " 

"Because you hain't got but one on. Just listen 
at the man ! I know you took it off, and know it by 
a better way than your wool-gethering memory, too, 
because it was on the clo's-line yesterday — I see it 
there myself. But it's gone, that's the long and the 
short of it, and you'll just have to change to a red 
flann'l one till I can get time to make a new one. 
And it '11 be the third I've made in two years. It 
just keeps a body on the jump to keep you in shirts; 
and whatever you do manage to do with 'm all is 
more'n I can make out. A body'd think you would 
learn to take some sort of care of 'em at your time 
of life." 

"I know it, Sally, and I do try all I can. But it 
oughtn't to be altogether my fault, because, you 

349 



MARK TWAIN 

know, I don't see them nor have nothing to do with 
them except when they're on me; and I don't beheve 
I've ever lost one of them off of me." 

"Well, it ain't your fault if you haven't, Silas; 
you'd 'a' done it if you could, I reckon. And the shirt 
ain't all that's gone, nuther. Ther's a spoon gone; 
and that ain't all. There was ten, and now ther's 
only nine. The calf got the shirt, I reckon, but the 
calf never took the spoon, thafs certain." 

"Why, what else is gone, Sally?" 

"Ther's six candles gone — that's what. The rats 
could 'a' got the candles, and I reckon they did; I 
wonder they don't walk off with the whole place, the 
way you're always going to stop their holes and 
don't do it; and if they warn't fools they'd sleep in 
your hair, Silas — you'd never find it out; but you 
can't lay the spoon on the rats, and that I know.'' 

"Well, Sally, I'm in fault, and I acknowledge it; 
I've been remiss; but I won't let to-morrow go by 
without stopping up them holes." 

"Oh, I wouldn't hurry; next year '11 do. Matilda 
Angelina Araminta Phelps !" 

Whack comes the thimble, and the child snatches 
her claws out of the sugar-bowl without fooling 
around any. Just then the nigger woman steps on- 
to the passage, and says: 

"Missus, dey's a sheet gone." 

"A sheet gone! Well, for the land's sake!" 

"I'll stop up them holes to-day," says Uncle Silas, 
looking sorrowful. 

"Oh, do shet up! — s'pose the rats took the sheet? 
Where's it gone, Lize?" 

3SO 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

"Clah to goodness I hain't no notion, Miss' Sally. 
She wuz on de clo's-line yistiddy, but she done gone: 
she ain' dah no mo' now." 

"I reckon the world is coming to an end. I never 
see the beat of it in all my born days. A shirt, and 
a sheet, and a spoon, and six can — " 

"Missus," comes a young yaller wench, "dey's a 
brass cannelstick miss'n." 

**Cler out from here, you hussy, er I'll take a 
skillet to ye!" 

Well, she was just a-biling. I begun to lay for a 
chance ; I reckoned I would sneak out and go for the 
woods till the weather moderated. She kept a-raging 
right along, running her insurrection all by herself, 
and everybody else mighty meek and quiet; and at 
last Uncle Silas, looking kind of foolish, fishes up 
that spoon out of his pocket. She stopped, with her 
mouth open and her hands up; and as for me, I 
wished I was in Jeruslem or somewheres. But not 
long, because she says: 

"It's JMst as I expected. So you had it in your 
pocket all the time; and like as not you've got the 
other things there, too. How'd it get there?" 

"I reely don't know, Sally," he says, kind of 
apologizing, "or you know I would tell. I was 
a-studying over my text in Acts Seventeen before 
breakfast, and I reckon I put it in there, not noticing, 
meaning to put my Testament in, and it must be so, 
because my Testament ain't in; but I'll go and see; 
and if the Testament is where I had it, I'll know I 
didn't put it in, and that will show that I laid the 
Testament down and took up the spoon, and — " 

351 



MARK TWAIN 

"Oh, for the land's sake! Give a body a rest! 
Go 'long now, the whole kit and biling of ye; and 
don't come nigh me again till I've got back my peace 
of mind." 

Fd 'a' heard her if she'd 'a' said it to herself, let 
alone speaking it out; and I'd 'a' got up and obeyed 
her if I'd 'a' been dead. As we was passing through 
the setting-room the old man he took up his hat, and 
the shingle-nail fell out on the floor, and he just 
merely picked it up and laid it on the mantel-shelf, 
and never said nothing, and went out. Tom see 
him do it, and remembered about the spoon, and 
says: 

"Well, it ain't no use to send things by him no 
more, he ain't reliable." Then he says: ''But he 
done us a good turn with the spoon, anyway, with- 
out knowing it, and so we'll go and do him one 
without him knowing it — stop up his rat-holes." 

There was a noble good lot of them down cellar, 
and it took us a whole hour, but we done the job 
tight and good and shipshape. Then we heard 
steps on the stairs, and blowed out our light and hid; 
and here comes the old man, with a candle in one 
hand and a bundle of stuff in. t'other, looking as 
absent-minded as year before last. He went a-moon- 
ing around, first to one rat-hole and then another, 
till he'd been to them all. Then he stood about five 
minutes, picking tallow-drip off of his candle and 
thinking. Then he turns off slow and dreamy tow- 
ards the stairs, saying: 

"Well, for the life of me I can't remember when 
I done it. I could show her now that I wam't to 

352 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

blame on account of the rats. But never mind — let 
it go. I reckon it wouldn't do no good." 

And so he went on a-mumbling up-stairs, and then 
w^e left. He was a mighty nice old man. And 
always is. 

Tom was a good deal bothered about what to do 
for a spoon, but he said we'd got to have it; so he 
took a think. When he had ciphered it out he told 
me how we was to do; then we went and waited 
around the spoon-basket till we see Aunt Sally 
coming, and then Tom went to counting the spoons 
and laying them out to one side, and I slid one of 
them up my sleeve, and Tom says: 

**Why, Aunt Sally, there ain't but nine spoons 
yetr 

She says: 

"Go 'long to your play, and don't bother me. I 
know better, I counted 'm myself." 

''Well, I've counted them twice, Aunty, and I 
can't make but nine." 

She looked out of all patience, but of course she 
come to count — anybody would. 

"I declare to gracious ther' ainH but nine!" she 
says. ''Why, what in the world— plague take the 
things, I'll count 'm again." 

So I slipped back the one I had, and when she got 
done counting, she says: 

"Hang the troublesome rubbage, ther's ten now!" 
and she looked huffy and bothered both. But Tom 
says: 

"Why, Aunty, I don't think there's ten." 

"You numskull, didn't you see me count 'm?" 
353 



MARK TWAIN 

"I know, but—" 

"Well, I'll count 'm again." 

So I smouched one, and they come out nine, same 
as the other time. Well, she was in a tearing way 
— just a-trembling all over, she was so mad. But 
she counted and counted till she got that addled 
she'd start to count in the basket for a spoon some- 
times; and so, three times they come out right, and 
three times they come out wrong. Then she grabbed 
up the basket and slammed it across the house and 
knocked the cat galley-west; and she said cler out 
and let her have some peace, and if we come bother- 
ing around her again betwixt that and dinner she'd 
skin us. So we had the odd spoon, and dropped it 
in her apron pocket whilst she was a-giving us our 
sailing orders, and Jim got it all right, along with 
her shingle - nail, before noon. We was very well 
satisfied with this business, and Tom allowed it was 
worth twice the trouble it took, because he said now 
she couldn't ever count them spoons twice alike 
again to save her life; and wouldn't believe she'd 
counted them right if she did; and said that after 
she'd about counted her head off for the next three 
days he judged she'd give it up and offer to kill any- 
body that wanted her to ever count them any more. 

So we put the sheet back on the line that night, 
and stole one out of her closet; and kept on putting 
it back and stealing it again for a couple of days till 
she didn't know how many sheets she had any more, 
and she didn't care, and warn't a-going to bullyrag 
the rest of her soul out about it, and wouldn't count 
them again not to save her life ; she druther die first. 

354 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

So we was all right now, as to the shirt and the 
sheet and the spoon and the candles, by the help of 
the calf and the rats and the mixed-up counting; and 
as to the candlestick, it warn't no consequence, it 
would blow over by and by. 

But that pie was a job; we had no end of trouble 
with that pie. We fixed it up away down in the 
woods, and cooked it there; and we got it done at 
last, and very satisfactory, too; but not all in one 
day; and we had to use up three washpans fvill of 
flour before we got through, and we got burnt pretty 
much all over, in places, and eyes put out with the 
smoke; because, you see, we didn't want nothing but 
a crust, and we couldn't prop it up right, and she 
would always cave in. But of course we thought of 
the right way at last — which was to cook the ladder, 
too, in the pie. So then we laid in with Jim the 
second night, and tore tip the sheet all in little strings 
and twisted them together, and long before daylight 
we had a lovely rope that you could 'a' hung a person 
with. We let on it took nine months to make it. 

And in the forenoon we took it down to the woods, 
but it wouldn't go into the pie. Being made of a 
whole sheet, that way, there was rope enough for 
forty pies if we'd 'a' wanted them, and plenty left 
over for soup, or sausage, or anything you choose. 
We could 'a' had a whole dinner. 

But we didn't need it. All we needed was just 
enough for the pie, and so we thro wed the rest 
away. We didn't cook none of the pies in the wash- 
pan — afraid the solder would melt; but Uncle Silas 
he had a noble brass warming-pan which he thought 

355 



MARK TWAIN 

considerable of, because it belonged to one of his 
ancesters with a long wooden handle that come over 
from England with William the Conqueror in the 
Mayflower or one of them early ships and was hid 
away up garret with a lot of other old pots and things 
that was valuable, not on account of being any 
account, because they warn't, but on account of 
them being relicts, you know, and we snaked her out, 
private, and took her down there, but she failed on 
the first pies, because we didn't know how, but she 
come up smiling on the last one. We took and lined 
her with dough, and set her in the coals, and loaded 
her up with rag rope, and put on a dough roof, and 
shut down the lid, and put hot embers on top, and 
stood off five foot, with the long handle, cool and 
comfortable, and in fifteen minutes she turned out a 
pie that was a satisfaction to look at. But the 
person that et it would want to fetch a couple of 
kags of toothpicks along, for if that rope ladder 
wouldn't cramp him down to business I don't know 
nothing what I'm talking about, and lay him in 
enough stomach-ache to last him till next time, too. 
Nat didn't look when we put the witch pie in Jim's 
pan ; and we put the three tin plates in the bottom of 
the pan under the vittles ; and so Jim got everything 
all right, and as soon as he was by himself he busted 
into the pie and hid the rope ladder inside of his 
straw tick, and scratched some marks on a tin plate 
and throwed it out of the window-hole. 



CHAPTER XXXVIII 

MAKING them pens was a distressid tough job, 
, and so was the saw ; and Jim allowed the in- 
scription was going to be the toughest of all. That's 
the one which the prisoner has to scrabble on the 
wall. But he had to have it; Tom said he'd got to; 
there w^arn't no case of a state prisoner not scrabbling 
his inscription to leave behind, and his coat of arms. 

"Look at Lady Jane Grey," he says; ''look at 
Gilford Dudley ; look at old Northumberland ! Why, 
Huck, s'pose it is considerble trouble? — what you 
going to do? — how you going to get around it? 
Jim's got to do his inscription and coat of arms. 
They all do." 

Jim says: 

"Why, Mars Tom, I hain't got no coat o' arm; 
I hain't got nuffn but dish yer ole shirt, en you 
knows I got to keep de journal on dat." 

"Oh, you don't understand, Jim; a coat of arms 
is very different." 

"Well," I says, "Jim's right, anyway, when he says 
he ain't got no coat of arms, because he hain't." 

"I reckon I knowed that," Tom says, "but you 
bet he'll have one before he goes out of this — 
because he's going out right, and there aih't going 
to be no flaws in his record." 

357 



MARK TWAIN 

So whilst me and Jim filed away at the pens on a 
brickbat apiece, Jim a-making his'n ont of the brass 
and I making mine out of the spoon, Tom set to 
work to think out the coat of arms. By and by he 
said he'd struck so many good ones he didn't hardly 
know which to take, but there was one which he 
reckoned he'd decide on. He says: 

"On the scutcheon we'll have a bend or in the 
dexter base, a saltire murrey in the fess, with a dog, 
couchant, for common charge, and under his foot a 
chain embattled, for slavery, with a chevron vert in 
a chief engrailed, and three invected lines on a field 
azure, with the nombril points rampant on a dancette 
indented; crest, a runaway nigger, sable, with his 
bundle over his shoulder on a bar sinister; and a 
couple of gules for supporters, which is you and 
me ; motto, Maggiore fretta, minore atto. Got it out 
of a book — means the more haste the less speed." 

"Geewhillikins," I says, ''but what does the rest 
of it mean?" 

"We ain't got no time to bother over that," he 
says; "we got to dig in like all git-out." 

"Well, anyway," I says, "what's some of it? 
What's a fess?" 

"A fess — a fess is — you don't need to know what 
a fess is. I'll show him how to make it when he gets 
to it." 

"Shucks, Tom," I says, "I think you might tell 
a person. What's a bar sinister?" 

"Oh, I don't know. But he's got to have it. 
All the ftobiHty does." 

That was just his way. If it didn't suit him to ex- 
358 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

plain a thing to you, he wouldn't do it. You might 
pump at him a week, it wouldn't make no difference. 
He'd got all that coat-of-arms business fixed, so 
now he started in to finish up the rest of that part 
of the work, which was to plan out a mournful 
inscription — said Jim got to have one, like they all 
done. He made up a lot, and WTote them out on a 
paper, and read them off, so: 

1. Here a captive heart busted. 

2. Here a poor prisoner, forsook by the world and 
friends, fretted his sorrowful life. 

3. Here a lonely heart broke, and a worn spirit went 
to its rest, after thirty-seven years of solitary captivity. 

4. Here, homeless and friendless, after thirty-seven 
years of bitter captivity, perished a noble stranger, 
natural son of Louis XIV. 

Tom's voice trembled whilst he was reading them, 
and he most broke down. When he got done he 
couldn't no way make up his mind which one for 
Jim to scrabble onto the wall, they was all so good; 
but at last he allowed he would let him scrabble 
them all on. Jim said it would take him a year to 
scrabble such a lot of truck onto the logs with a 
nail, and he didn't know how to make letters, be- 
sides; but Tom said he w^ould block them out for 
him, and then he w^ouldn't have nothing to do but 
just follow the lines. Then pretty soon he says: 

"Come to think, the logs ain't a-going to do; they 
don't have log walls in a dungeon: we got to dig the 
inscriptions into a rock. We'll fetch a rock." 

24 359 



MARK TWAIN 

Jim said the rock was worse than the logs; he 
said it would take him such a pison long time to 
dig' them into a rock he wouldn't ever get out. But 
Tom said he would let me help him do it. Then he 
took a look to see how me and Jim was getting along 
with the pens. It was most pesky tedious hard work 
and slow, and didn't give my hands no show to get 
well of the sores, and we didn't seem to make no 
headway, hardly; so Tom says: 

*'I know how to fix it. We got to have a rock 
for the coat of arms and mournful inscriptions, and 
we can kill two birds with that same rock. There's 
a gaudy big grindstone down at the mill, and we'll 
smouch it, and carve the things on it, and file out 
the pens and the saw on it, too." 

It warn't no slouch of an idea; and it warn't no 
slouch of a grindstone nuther; but we allowed we'd 
tackle it. It warn't quite midnight yet, so we 
cleared out for the mill, leaving Jim at work. We 
smouched the grindstone, and set out to roll her 
home, but it was a most nation tough job. Some- 
times, do what we could, we couldn't keep her from 
falling over, and she come mighty near mashing us 
every time. Tom said she was going to get one of 
us, sure, before we got through. We got her half- 
way; and then we was plumb played out, and most 
drownded with sweat. We see it warn't no use; we 
got to go and fetch Jim. So he raised up his bed 
and slid the chain off of the bed-leg, and wrapt it 
round and round his neck, and we crawled out 
through our hole and down there, and Jim and me 
laid into that grindstone and walked her along like 

360 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

nothing; and Tom superintended. He could out- 
superintend any boy I ever see. He knowed how to 
do everything. 

Our hole was pretty big, but it warn't big enough 
to get the grindstone through; but Jim he took the 
pick and soon made it big enough. ' Then Tom 
marked out them things on it with the nail, and set 
Jim to work on them, with the nail for a chisel and 
an iron bolt from the rubbage in the lean-to for a 
hammer, and told him to work till the rest of his 
candle quit on him, and then he could go to bed, 
and hide the grindstone under his straw tick and 
sleep on it. Then we helped him fix his chain back 
on the bed-leg, and was ready for bed ourselves. 
But Tom thought of something, and says: 

"You got any spiders in here, Jim?" 

"No, sah, thanks to goodness I hain't, Mars Tom.'* 

"All right, we'll get you some." 

"But bless you, honey, I doan' want none. I's 
afeard un um. I jis' 's soon have rattlesnakes aroun'.'* 

Tom thought a minute or two, and .says: 

"It's a good idea. And I reckon it's been done. 
It must 'a' been done; it stands to reason. Yes, it's 
a prime good idea. Where could you keep it?" 

"Keep what. Mars Tom?" 

"Why, a rattlesnake." 

"De goodness gracious alive, Mars Tom! Why, 
if dey was a rattlesnake to come in heah I'd take en 
bust right out thoo dat log wall, I would, wid my 
head.'* 

"Why, Jim, you wouldn't be afraid of it after a 
little. You could tame it." 

361 



MARK TWAIN 

''Tame ay' 

* ' Yes — easy enough. Every animal is grateful for 
kindness and petting, and they wouldn't think of 
hurting a person that pets them. Any book will tell 
you that. You try — that's all I ask; just try for 
two or three days. Why, you can get him so in a 
little while that he'll love you; and sleep with you; 
and won't stay away from you a minute; and will let 
you wrap him round your neck and put his head in 
your mouth." 

''Please, Mars Tom — doan' talk so! I can't stan' 
it! He'd let me shove his head in my mouf — fer a 
favor, hain't it? I lay he'd wait a pow'ful long time 
'fo' I ast him. En mo' en dat, I doan' want him to 
sleep wid me." 

**Jim, don't act so foolish. A prisoner's got to 
have some kind of a dumb pet, and if a rattlesnake 
hain't ever been tried, why, there's more glory to 
be gained in your being the first to ever try it than 
any other way you could ever think of to save your 
life." 

"Why, Mars Tom, I doan' want no sich glory. 
Snake take 'n bite Jim's chin off, den whah is de 
glory? No, sah, I doan' want no sich doin's." 

"Blame it, can't you try? I only want you to try 
— you needn't keep it up if it don't work." 

* ' But de trouble all done ef de snake bite me while 
I's a-tryin' him. Mars Tom, I's willin' to tackle 
mos' anything 'at ain't onreasonable, but ef you en 
Huck fetches a rattlesnake in heah for me to tame, 
I's gwyne to leave, dat's shored 

"Well, then, let it go, let it go, if you're so buU- 
36^ 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

headed about it. We can get you some garter- 
snakes, and you can tie some buttons on their tails, 
and let on they're rattlesnakes, and I reckon that '11 
have to do." 

"I k'n Stan' dem, Mars Tom, but blame' 'f I 
couldn' get along widout um, I tell you dat. I 
never knowed b'fo' 'twas so much bother and trouble 
to be a prisoner." 

"Well, it always is when it's done right. You got 
any rats around here?" 

"No, sah, I hain't seed none." 

"Well, we'll get you some rats." 

"Why, Mars Tom, I doan' want no rats. Dey's 
de dadblamedest creturs to 'sturb a body, en rustle 
roun' over 'im, en bite his feet, when he's tryin' to 
sleep, I ever see. No, sah, gimme g'yarter-snakes, 
'f I's got to have 'm, but doan' gimme no rats; I 
hain' got no use f'r um, skasely." 

"But, Jim, you got to have 'em — they all do. So 
don't make no more fuss about it. Prisoners ain't 
ever without rats. There ain't no in'stance of it. 
And they train them, and pet them, and learn them 
tricks, and they get to be as sociable as flies. But 
you got to play music to them. You got anything 
to play music on?" 

"I ain' got nuffn but a coase comb en a piece o' 
paper, en a juice-harp; but I reck'n dey wouldn' take 
no stock in a juice-harp." 

"Yes they would. They don't care what kind of 
music 'tis. A jew's-harp's plenty good enough for a 
rat. All animals Hke music — in a prison they dote 
on it. Specially, painful music; and you can't get 

363 



MARK TWAIN 

no other kind out of a jew's-harp. It always inter- 
ests them; they come out to see what's the matter 
with you. Yes, you're -all right; you're fixed very 
well. You want to set on your bed nights before 
you go to sleep, and early in the mornings, and play 
your jew's-harp; play 'The Last Link is Broken' — 
that's the thing that '11 scoop a rat quicker 'n any- 
thing else; and when you've played about two 
minutes you'll see all the rats, and the snakes, and 
spiders and things begin to feel worried about you, 
and come. And they'll just fairly swarm over you, 
and have a noble good time." 

"Yes, dey will, I reck'n, Mars Tom, but what kine 
er time is Jim havin'? Blest if I kin see de pint. 
But I'll do it ef I got to. I reck'n I better keep de 
animals satisfied, en not have no trouble in de house." 

Tom waited to think it over, and see if there 
wasn't nothing else; and pretty soon he says: 

*'0h, there's one thing I forgot. Could you raise 
a flower here, do you reckon?" 

"I doan' know but maybe I could. Mars Tom; 
but it's tolable dark in heah, en I ain' got no use f'r 
no flower, nohow, en she'd be a pow'ful sight o' 
trouble." 

"Well, you try it, anyway. Some other prisoners 
has done it." 

"One er dem big cat-tail-lookin' mullen-stalks 
would grow in heah. Mars Tom, I reck'n, but she 
wouldn't be wuth half de trouble she'd coss." 

"Don't you believe it. We'll fetch you a little 
one, and you plant it in the corner over there, and 
raise it. And don't call it mullen, call it Pitchiola — 

364 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

that's its right name when it's in a prison. And you 
want to water it with your tears." 

''Why, I got plenty spring water, Mars Tom." 

"You don't want spring water; you want to water 

it with your tears. It's the way they always do." 

''Why, Mars Tom, I lay I kin raise one er dem 

mullen-stalks twyste wid spring water whiles another 

man's a start' n one wid tears." 

"That ain't the idea. You got to do it with tears." 
"She'll die on my han's, Mars Tom, she sholy 
will; kase I doan' skasely ever cry." 

So Tom was stumped. But he studied it over, and 
then said Jim would have to worry along the best 
he could with an onion. He promised he would go 
to the nigger cabins and drop one, private, in Jim's 
coffee-pot, in the morning. Jim said he would 
"jis' 's soon have tobacker in his coffee"; and found 
so much fault with it, and with the work and bother 
of raising the mullen, and jew's-harping the rats, and 
petting and flattering up the snakes and spiders and 
things, on top of all the other work he had to do on 
pens, and inscriptions, and journals, and things, 
which made it more trouble and worry and responsi- 
bility to be a prisoner than anything he ever under- 
took, that Tom most lost all patience with him; and 
said he was just loadened down with more gaudier 
chances than a prisoner ever had in the world to 
make a name for himself, and yet he didn't know 
enough to appreciate them, and they was just about 
wasted on him. So Jim he was sorry, and said he 
wouldn't behave so no more, and then me and Tom 
shoved for bed. 



CHAPTER XXXIX 

IN the morning we went up to the village and 
bought a wire rat-trap and fetched it down, and 
unstopped the best rat-hole, and in about an hour 
we had fifteen of the bulliest kind of ones ; and then 
we took it and put it in a safe place under Aunt 
Sally's bed. But while we was gone for spiders little 
Thomas Franklin Benjamin Jefferson Elexander 
Phelps found it there, and opened the door of it to 
see if the rats would come out, and they did; and 
Aunt Sally she come in, and when we got back she 
was a-standing on top of the bed raising Cain, and 
the rats was doing what they could to keep off the 
dull times for her. So she took and dusted us both 
with the hickry, and we was as much as two hours 
catching another fifteen or sixteen, drat that meddle- 
some cub, and they warn't the likeliest, nuther, 
because the first haul was the pick of the flock. I 
never see a likelier lot of rats than what that first 
haul was. 

We got a splendid stock of sorted spiders, and 
bugs, and frogs, and caterpillars, and one thing or 
another; and we like to got a hornet's nest, but we 
didn't. The family was at home. We didn't give 
it right up, but stayed with them as long), -^^ we could; 
because we allowed we'd tire them out or they'd got 

366 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

to tire us out, and they done it. Then we got 
allycumpain and rubbed on the places, and was 
pretty near all right again, but couldn't set down 
convenient. And so we went for the snakes, and 
grabbed a couple of dozen garters and house-snakes, 
and put them in a bag, and put it in our room, and 
by that time it was supper-time, and a rattling good 
honest day's work: and hungry? — oh, no, I reckon 
not! And there warn't a blessed snake up there 
when we went back — we didn't half tie the sack, and 
they worked out somehow, and left. But it didn't 
matter much, because they was still on the premises 
somewheres. So we judged we could get .some of 
them again. No, there warn't no real scarcity of 
snakes about the house for a considerable spell. 
You'd see them dripping from the rafters and places 
every now and then; and they generly landed in 
your plate, or down the back of your neck, and most 
of the time where you didn't want them. Well, 
they was handsome and striped, and there warn't 
no harm in a million of them; but that never made 
no difference to Aunt Sally; she despised snakes, be 
the breed what they might, and she couldn't stand 
them no way you could fix it ; and every time one of 
them flopped down on her, it didn't make no differ- 
ence what she was doing, she would just lay that 
work down and light out. I never see such a woman. 
And you could hear her whoop to Jericho. You 
couldn't get her to take a-holt of one of them with 
the tongs. And if she turned over and found one 
in bed she ould scramble out and lift a howl that 
you would think the house was afire. She disturbed 

367 



MARK TWAIN 

the old man so that he said he could most wish there 
hadn't ever been no snakes created. Why, after 
every last snake had been gone clear out of the 
house for as much as a week Aunt Sally warn't over 
it yet ; she warn't near over it ; when she was setting 
thinking about something you could touch her on the 
back of her neck with a feather and she would jump 
right out of her stockings. It was very curious. 
But Tom said all women was just so. He said they 
was made that way for some reason or other. 

We got a licking every time one of our snakes come 
in her way, and she allowed these lickings warn't 
nothing to what she would do if we ever loaded up 
the place again with them. I didn't mind the lick- 
ings, because they didn't amount to nothing; but I 
minded the trouble we had to lay in another lot. 
But we got them laid in, and all the other things ; and 
you never see a cabin as blithesome as Jim's was 
when they'd all swarm out for music and go for him. 
Jim didn't like the spiders, and the spiders didn't like 
Jim; and so they'd lay for him, and make it mighty 
warm for him. And he said that between the rats 
and the snakes and the grindstone there warn't no 
room in bed for him, skasely; and when there was, 
a body couldn't sleep, it was so lively, and it was 
always lively, he said, because they never all slept at 
one time, but took turn about, so when the snakes 
was asleep the rats was on deck, and when the rats 
turned in the snakes come on watch, so he always 
had one gang under him, in his way, and t'other gang 
having a circus over him, and if he got up to hunt 
a new place the spiders would take a chance at him 

368 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

as he crossed over. He said if he ever got out this 
time he wouldn't ever be a prisoner again, not for 
a salary. 

Well, by the end of three weeks everything was in 
pretty good shape. The shirt was sent in early, in 
a pie, and every time a rat bit Jim he would get up 
and write a line in his journal whilst the ink was 
fresh; the pens was made, the inscriptions and so on 
was all carved on the grindstone; the bed-leg was 
sawed in two, and we had et up the sawdust, and it 
give us a most amazing stomach-ache. We reckoned 
we was all going to die, but didn't. It was the most 
undigestible sawdust I ever see; and Tom said the 
same. But as I was saying, we'd got all the work 
done now, at last ; and we was all pretty much fagged 
out, too, but mainly Jim. The old man had wrote 
a couple of times to the plantation below Orleans to 
come and get their runaway nigger, but hadn't got 
no answer, because there warn't no such plantation; 
so he allowed he would advertise Jim in the St. Louis 
and New Orleans papers ; and when he mentioned the 
St. Louis ones it give me the cold shivers, and I see 
we hadn't no time to lose. So Tom said, now for 
the nonnamous letters. 

''What's them?" I says. 

''Warnings to the people that something is up. 
Sometimes it's done one way, sometimes another. 
But there's always somebody spying around that 
gives notice to the governor of the castle. When 
Louis XVI. was going to Hght out of the Tooleries a 
servant-girl done it. It's a very good way, and so 
is the nonnamous letters. We'll use them both. 

369 



MARK TWAIN 

And it's UvSual for the prisoner's mother to change 
clothes with him, and she stays in, and he sHdes out 
in her clothes. We'll do that, too." 

*'But looky here, Tom, what do we want to warn 
anybody for that something's up? Let them find it 
out for themselves— it's their lookout." 

"Yes, I know; but you can't depend on them. 
It's the way they've acted from the very start — left 
us to do everything. They're so confiding and mullet- 
headed they don't take notice of nothing at all. So 
if we don't give them notice there won't be nobody 
nor nothing to interfere with us, and so after all our 
hard work and trouble this escape '11 go off perfectly 
flat; won't amount to nothing — won't be nothing 
to it." 

''Well, as for me, Tom, that's the way I'd like." 

* * Shucks !" he says, and looked disgusted. So I says : 

"But I ain't going to make no complaint. Any 
way that suits you suits me. What you going to 
do about the servant-girl?" 

"You'll be her. You slide in, in the middle of 
the night, and hook that yaller girl's frock." 

"Why, Tom, that '11 make trouble next morning; 
because, of course, she prob'bly hain't got any but 
that one." 

"I know; but you don't want it but fifteen min- 
utes, to carry the nonnamous letter and shove it 
under the front door." 

"All right, then, I'll do it; but I could carry it just 
as handy in my own togs." 

"You wouldn't look like a servant-girl then, would 
you?" 

370 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

**No, but there won't be nobody to see what I 
look Hke, anyway." 

"That ain't got nothing to do with it. The thing 
for us to do is just to do our duty, and not worry 
about whether anybody sees us do it or not. Hain't 
you got no principle at all?" 

"All right, I ain't saying nothing; I'm the servant- 
girl. Who's Jim's mother?" 

"I'm his mother. I'll hook a gown from Aunt 
Sally." 

"Well, then, you'll have to stay in the cabin when 
me and Jim leaves." 

"Not much. I'll stuff Jim's clothes full of straw 
and lay it on his bed to represent his mother in dis- 
guise, and Jim '11 take the nigger woman's gown 
off of me and wear it, and we'll all evade together. 
When a prisoner of style escapes it's called an evasion. 
It's always called so when a king escapes, f 'rinstance. 
And the same with a king's son; it don't make no 
difference whether he's a natural one or an unnatural 
one." 

So Tom he wrote the nonnamous letter, and I 
smouched the yaller wench's frock that night, and 
put it on, and shoved it under the front door, the 
way Tom told me to. It said: 

Beware. Trouble is brewing. Keep a sharp lookout. 

Unknown Friend. 

Next night we stuck a picture, which Tom drawed 
in blood, of a skull and crossbones on the front door; 
and next night another one of a coffin on the back 
door. I never see a family in such a sweat, They 

371 



MARK TWAIN 

couldn't 'a' been worse scared if the place had 'a' been 
full of ghosts laying for them behind everything and 
under the beds and shivering through the air. If a 
door banged, Aunt Sally she jumped and said 
"ouch!" if anything fell, she jumped and said 
"ouch!" if you happened to touch her, when she 
warn't noticing, she done the same ; she couldn't face 
no way and be satisfied, because she allowed there was 
something behind her every time — so she was always 
a- whirling around sudden, and saying "ouch," and 
before she'd got two- thirds around she'd whirl back 
again, and say it again; and she was afraid to go to 
bed, but she dasn't set up. So the thing was working 
very well, Tom said; he said he never see a thing 
work more satisfactory. He said it showed it was 
done right. 

So he said, now for the grand bulge ! So the very 
next morning at the streak of dawn we got another 
letter ready, and was wondering what we better do 
with it, because we heard them say at supper they 
was going to have a nigger on watch at both doors 
all night. Tom he went down the lightning-rod to 
spy around; and the nigger at the back door was 
asleep, and he stuck it in the back of his neck and 
come back. This letter said: 

DonH betray me, I wish to he your friend. There is a desprate 
gang of cutthroats from over in the Indian Territory going to steal 
your runaway nigger to-night, and they have been trying to scare 
you so as you will stay in the house and not bother them. I am 
one of the gang, hut have got religgion and wish to quit it and 
lead an honest life again, and will betray the helish design. They 
will sneak down from northards, along the fence, at midnight 
exact, with a false key, and go in the nigger's cabin to get him. 

372 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

/ am to be off a piece and blow a tin horn if I see any danger; but 
stead of that I will ba like a sheep soon as they get in and not 
blow at all; then whilst they are getting his chains loose, you slip 
there and lock them in, and can kill them at your leasure. Don't 
do anything but just the way I am telling you; if you do they will 
suspicion something and raise whoop-jamboreehoo. I do not wish 
any reward but to know I have done the right thing. 

Unknown Friend. 



CHAPTER XL 

WE was feeling pretty good after breakfast, and 
took my canoe and went over the river a-fish- 
ing, with a lunch, and had a good time, and took a 
look at the raft and found her all right, and got home 
late to supper, and found them in such a sweat and 
worry they didn't know which end they was stand- 
ing on, and made us go right off to bed the minute 
we was done supper, and wouldn't tell us what the 
trouble was, and never let on a word about the new 
letter, but didn't need to, because we knowed as 
much about it as anybody did, and as soon as we 
was half up-stairs and her back was turned we slid 
for the cellar cubboard and loaded up a good lunch 
and took it up to our room and went to bed, and 
got up about half past eleven, and Tom put on 
Aunt Sally's dress that he stole and was going to 
start with the lunch, but says: 

"Where's the butter?" 

"I laid out a hunk of it," I says, "on a piece of a 
corn-pone." 

"Well, you left it laid out, then — it ain't here." 

"We can get along without it," I says. 

"We can get along with it, too," he says; "just 
you slide down cellar and fetch it. And then mosey 
right down the lightning-rod and come along. I'll 

374 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

go and stuff the straw into Jim's clothes to represent 
his mother in disguise, and be ready to ba Uke a 
sheep and shove soon as you get there." 

So out he went, and down cellar went I. The 
hunk of butter, big as a person's fist, was where I 
had left it, so I took up the slab of corn-pone with 
it on, and blowed out my Hght, and started up-stairs 
very stealthy, and got up to the main floor all right, 
but here comes Aunt Sally with a candle, and I 
clapped the truck in my hat, and clapped my hat 
on my head, and the next second she see me; and 
she says: 

"You been down cellar?" 

"Yes'm." 

"What you been doing down there?" 

"Noth'n." 

''Noth'n.f' 

"No'm." 

"Well, then, what possessed you to go down there 
this time of night?" 

"I don't know 'm." 

"You don't knowf Don't answer me that way. 
Tom, I want to know what you been doing down 
there." 

"I hain't been doing a single thing, Aunt Sally, 
I hope to gracious if I have." 

I reckoned she'd let me go now, and as a generl 
thing she would; but I s'pose there was so many 
strange things going on she was just in a sweat about 
every little thing that warn't yard-stick straight; so 
she says, very decided: 

"You just march into that setting-room and stay 
25 375 



MARK TWAIN 

there till I come. You been up to something you 
no business to, and I lay I'll find out what it is 
before Fm done with you." 

So she went away as I opened the door and walked 
into the setting-room. My, but there was a crowd 
there! Fifteen farmers, and every one of them had 
a gun. I was most powerful sick, and slunk to a 
chair and set down. They was setting around, some 
of them talking a little, in a low voice, and all of 
them fidgety and uneasy, but trying to look like they 
warn't; but I knowed they was, because they was 
always taking off their hats, and putting them on, 
and scratching their heads, and changing their seats, 
and fumbling with their buttons. I warn't easy 
myself, but I didn't take my hat off, all the same. 

I did wish Aunt Sally would come, and get done 
with me, and lick me, if she wanted to, and let me 
get away and tell Tom how we'd overdone this thing, 
and what a thundering hornet's nest we'd got our- 
selves into, so we could stop fooling around straight 
off, and clear out with Jim before these rips got out 
of patience and come for us. 

At last she come and begun to ask me questions, 
but I couldn't answer them straight, I didn't know 
which end of me was up; because these men was in 
such a fidget now that some was wanting to start 
right now and lay for them desperadoes, and saying 
it warn't but a few minutes to midnight; and others 
was trying to get them to hold on and wait for the 
sheep-signal; and here was Aunty pegging away at 
the questions, and me a-shaking all over and ready 
to sink down in my tracks I was that scared ; and the 

376 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

place getting hotter and hotter, and the butter 
beginning to melt and run down my neck and behind 
my ears; and pretty soon, when one of them says, 
"I'm for going and getting in the cabin first and 
right now, and catching them when they come," I 
most dropped ; and a streak of butter come a-trickling 
down my forehead, and Aunt Sally she see it, and 
turns white as a sheet, and says: 

"For the land's sake, what is the matter with the 
child? He's got the brain-fever as shore as you're 
born, and they're oozing out!" 

And everybody runs to see, and she snatches off 
my hat, and out comes the bread and what was left 
of the butter, and she grabbed me, and hugged me, 
and says: 

"Oh, what a turn you did give me! and how glad 
and grateful I am it ain't no worse; for luck's against 
us, and it never rains but it pours, and when I see 
that truck I thought we'd lost you, for I knowed by 
the color and all it was just like your brains would 
be if — Dear, dear, whyd'nt you tell me that was 
what you'd been down there for, I wouldn't 'a' cared. 
Now cler out to bed, and don't lemme see no more 
of you till morning!" 

I was u9-stairs in a second, and down the lightning- 
rod in another one, and shinning through the dark 
for the lean-to. I couldn't hardly get my words out, 
I was so anxious; but I told Tom as quick as I could 
we must jump for it now, and not a minute to lose — 
the house full of men, yonder, with guns! 

His eyes just blazed; and he says: 

"Nol— is that so? AinH it bully! Why, Huck, 
377 



MARK TWAIN 

if it was to do over again, I bet I could fetch two 
hundred! If we could put it off till — " 

"Hurry! hurry!'' I says. "Where's Jim?" 

"Right at your elbow; if you reach out your arm 
you can touch him. He's dressed, and everything's 
ready. Now we'll slide out and give the sheep- 
signal." 

But then we heard the tramp of men coming to 
the door, and heard them begin to fumble with the 
padlock, and heard a man say: 

"I told you we'd be too soon; they haven't come 
— the door is locked. Here, I'll lock some of you 
into the cabin, and you lay for 'cm in the dark 
and kill 'em when they come ; and the rest scatter 
around a piece, and listen if you can hear 'em 
coming." 

So in they come, but couldn't see us in the dark, 
and most trod on us whilst we was hustling to get 
under the bed. But we got under all right, and out 
through the hole, swift but soft — Jim first, me next, 
and Tom last, which was according to Tom's orders. 
Now we was in the lean-to, and heard trampings 
close by outside. So we crept to the door, and Tom 
stopped us there and put his eye to the crack, but 
couldn't make out nothing, it was so dark; and 
whispered and said he would listen for the steps to 
get further, and when he nudged us Jim must glide 
out first, and him last. So he set his ear to the crack 
and listened, and listened, and listened, and the 
steps a-scraping around out there all the time; and 
at last he nudged us, and we slid out, and stooped 
down, not breathing, and not making the least noise, 

378 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

and slipped stealthy towards the fence in Injun file, 
and got to it all right, and me and Jim over it; but 
Tom's britches catched fast on a splinter on the top 
rail, and then he hear the steps coming, so he had 
to pull loose, which snapped the splinter and made 
a noise ; and as he dropped in our tracks and started 
somebody sings out: 

''Who's that? Answer, or I'll shoot!" 

But we didn't answer; we just unfurled our heels 
and shoved. Then there was a rush, and a bang, 
bang, bang! and the bullets fairly whizzed around us ! 
We heard them sing out: 

"Here they are! They've broke for the river! 
After 'em, boys, and turn loose the dogs!" 

So here they come, full tilt. We could hear them 
because they wore boots and yelled, but we didn't 
wear no boots and didn't yell. We was in the path 
to the mill; and when they got pretty close onto us 
we dodged into the bush and let them go by, and 
then dropped in behind them. They'd had all the 
dogs shut up, so they wouldn't scare off the robbers; 
but by this time somebody had let them loose, and 
here they come, making powwow enough for a 
million ; but they was our dogs ; so we stopped in our 
tracks till they catched up; and when they see it 
warn't nobody but us, and no excitement to offer 
them, they only just said howdy, and tore right 
ahead towards the shouting and clattering; and then 
we up-steam again, and whizzed along after them 
till we was nearly to the mill, and then struck up 
through the bush to where my canoe was tied, and 
hopped in and pulled for dear life towards the middle 

379 



MARK TWAIN 

of the river, but didn't make no more noise than we 
was obleeged to. Then we struck out, easy and 
comfortable, for the island where my raft was; and 
we could hear them yelling and barking at each 
other all up and down the bank, till we was so far 
away the sounds got dim and died out. And when 
we stepped onto the raft I says: 

"Now, old Jim, you're a free man again, and I 
bet you won't ever be a slave no more." 

"En a mighty good job it wuz, too, Huck. It 'uz 
planned beautiful, en it 'uz done beautiful; en dey 
ain't nobody kin git up a plan dat's mo' mixed up 
en splendid den what dat one wuz." 

We was all glad as we could be, but Tom was the 
gladdest of all because he had a bullet in the calf 
of his leg. 

When me and Jim heard that we didn't feel as 
brash as what we did before. It was hurting him 
considerable, and bleeding; so we laid him in the 
wigwam and tore up one of the duke's shirts for to 
bandage him, but he says: 

* ' Gimme the rags ; I can do it myself. Don't stop 
now; don't fool around here, and the evasion boom- 
ing along so handsome; man the sweeps, and set her 
loose! Boys, we done it elegant! — 'deed we did. I 
wish we'd 'a' had the handling of Louis XVI., there 
wouldn't 'a' been no 'Son of Saint Louis, ascend to 
heaven!' wrote down in his biography; no, sir, we'd 
'a' whooped him over the border — that's what we'd 
'a' done with him — and done it just as slick as 
nothing at all, too. Man the sweeps — man the 
sweeps!" 

380 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

But me and Jim was consulting — and thinking. 
And after we'd thought a minute, I says: 

"Say it, Jim." 

So he says : 

"Well, den, dis is de way it look to me, Huck. 
Ef it wuz him dat 'uz bein' sot free, en one er de 
boys wuz to git shot, would he say, *Go on en save 
me, nemmine 'bout a doctor f'r to save dis one'? 
Is dat like Mars Tom Sawyer? Would he say dat? 
You bet he wouldn't! Well, den, is Jim gwyne to 
say it? No, sah — I doan' budge a step out'n dis 
place 'dout a doctor; not if it's forty year!" 

I knowed he was white inside, and I reckoned he'd 
say what he did say — so it was all right now, and 
I told Tom I was a-going for a doctor. He raised 
considerable row about it, but me and Jim stuck to 
it and wouldn't budge; so he was for crawling out 
and setting the raft loose himself; but we wouldn't 
let him. Then he give us a piece of his mind, but 
it didn't do no good. 

So when he sees me getting the canoe ready, he 
says: 

"Well, then, if you're bound to go, I'll tell 3^ou 
the way to do when you get to the village. Shut the 
door and blindfold the doctor tight and fast, and 
make him swear to be silent as the grave, and put a 
purse full of gold in his hand, and then take and 
lead him all around the back alleys and everywheres 
in the dark, and then fetch him here in the canoe, 
in a roundabout way amongst the islands, and 
search him and take his chalk away from him, and 
don't give it back to him till you get him back to the 

381 



MARK TWAIN 

village, or else he will chalk this raft so he can find 
it again. It's the way they all do." 

So I said I would, and left, and Jim was to hide 
in the woods when he see the doctor coming till he 
was gone again. 



CHAPTER XLI 

THE doctor was an old man; a very nice, kind- 
looking old man when I got him up. I told him 
me and my brother was over on Spanish Island hunt- 
ing yesterday afternoon, and camped on a piece of 
a raft we found, and about midnight he must 'a' 
kicked his gun in his dreams, for it went off and shot 
him in the leg, and we wanted him to go over there 
and fix it and not say nothing about it, nor let any- 
body know, because we wanted to come home this 
evening and surprise the folks. 

"Who is 3' our folks?" he says. 

"The Phelpses, down yonder." 

"Oh," he says. And after a minute, he says: 

"How'd you say he got shot?" 

"He had a dream," I says, "and it shot him." 

"Singular dream," he says. 

So he lit up his lantern, and got his saddle-bags, 
and we started. But when he see the canoe he 
didn't like the look of her — said she was big enough 
for one, but didn't look pretty safe for two. I says : 

"Oh, you needn't be afeard, sir, she carried the 
three of us easy enough." 

"What three?" 

"Why, me and Sid, and — and — and the guns; 
that's what I mean." 

383 



MARK TWAIN 

"Oh," he says. 

But he put his foot on the gunnel and rocked her, 
and shook his head, and said he reckoned he'd look 
around for a bigger one. But they was all locked 
and chained; so he took my canoe, and said for me 
to wait till he come back, or I could hunt around 
further, or maybe I better go down home and get 
them ready for the surprise if I wanted to. But I 
said I didn't ; so I told him just how to find the raft, 
and then he started. 

I struck an idea pretty soon. I says to myself, 
spos'n he can't fix that leg just in three shakes of a 
sheep's tail, as the saying is? spos'n it takes him three 
or four days? What are we going to do? — lay 
around there till he lets the cat out of the bag? 
No, sir; I know what /'// do. I'll wait, and when he 
comes back if he says he's got to go any more I'll 
get down there, too, if I swim; and we'll take and 
tie him, and keep him, and shove out down the river; 
and when Tom's done with him we'll give him what 
it's worth, or all we got, and then let him get ashore. 

So then I crept into a lumber-pile to get some 
sleep; and next time I waked up the sun was away 
up over my head! I shot out and went for the 
doctor's house, but they told me he'd gone away in 
the night some time or other, and warn't back yet. 
Well, thinks I, that looks powerful bad for Tom, and 
I'll dig out for the island right off. So away I 
shoved, and turned the corner, and nearly rammed 
my head into Uncle Silas's stomach! He says: 

"Why, Tom! Where you been all this time, you 
rascal?" 

384 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

'*/ hain't been nowheres," I says, "only just 
hunting for the runaway nigger — me and Sid." 

"Why, where ever did you go?" he says. "Your 
aunt's been mighty uneasy." 

"She needn't," I says, "because we was all 
right. We followed the men and the dogs, but they 
outrun us, and we lost them; but we thought we 
heard them on the w^ater, so we got a canoe and 
took out after them and crossed over, but couldn't 
find nothing of them; so we cruised along up-shore 
till we got kind of tired and beat out; and tied up 
the canoe and went to sleep, and never waked up 
till about an hour ago; then we paddled over here 
to hear the news, and Sid's at the post-office to see 
what he can hear, and I'm a-branching out to get 
something to eat for us, and then we're going home." 

So then we went to the post-office to get "Sid"; 
but just as I suspicioned, he warn't there; so the old 
man he got a letter out of the office, and we waited 
awhile longer, but Sid didn't come; so the old man 
said, come along, let Sid foot it home, or canoe it, 
when he got done fooling around — but we would 
ride. I couldn't get him to let me stay and wait 
for Sid; and he said there warn't no use in it, and I 
m.ust come along, and let Aunt Sally see we was all 
right. 

When we got home Aunt Sally was that glad to 
see me she laughed and cried both, and hugged me, 
and give me one of them lickings of hern that don't 
amount to shucks, and said she'd serve Sid the same 
when he come. 

And the place was plum full of farmers and farmers' 
385 



MARK TWAIN 

wives, to dinner; and such another clack a body 
never heard. Old Mrs. Hotchkiss was the worst; 
her tongue was a-going all the time. She says: 

"Well, Sister Phelps, I've ransacked that-air 
cabin over, an' I b'lieve the nigger was crazy. I 
says to Sister Damrell — didn't I, Sister Damrell? — 
s'l, he's crazy, s'l — them's the very words I said. 
You all hearn me: he's crazy, s'l; everything shows 
it, s'l. Look at that-air grindstone, s'l; want to tell 
7ne't any cretur 't's in his right mind 's a-goin' to 
scrabble all them crazy things onto a grindstone? s'l. 
Here sich 'n' sich a person busted his heart; 'n' here 
so 'n' so pegged along for thirty-seven year, 'n' all 
that — natcherl son o' Louis somebody, 'n' sich ever- 
last'n rubbage. He's plumb crazy, s'l; it's what I 
says in the fust place, it's what I says in the middle, 
'n' it's what I says last 'n' all the time — the nigger's 
crazy — crazy 's Nebokoodneezer, s'l." 

**An' look at that-air ladder made out'n rags, 
Sister Hotchkiss," says old Mrs. Damrell; ''what in 
the name o' goodness could he ever want of — " 

''The very words I was a-sayin' no longer ago th'n 
this minute to Sister Utterback, 'n' she'll tell you 
so herself. Sh-she, look at that-air rag ladder, 
sh-she; 'n' s'l, yes, look at it, s'l — what could he 
'a' wanted of it? s'l. Sh-she, Sister Hotchkiss, 
sh-she — " 

''But how in the nation'd they ever git that 
grindstone m there, anyway? 'n' who dug that-air 
hole? 'n' who—" 

"My very words, Brer Penrod! I was a-sayin' — 
pass that-air sasser o' m'lasses, won't ye? — I was 

.^86 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

a-sayin' to Sister Dunlap, jist this minute, how did 
they git that grindstone in there ? s'L Without help, 
mind you — 'thout help! That's where 'tis. Don't 
tell me, s'l; there wuz help, s'l; 'n' ther' wuz a plenty 
help, too, s'l; ther's ben a dozen a-helpin' that nigger, 
'n' I lay I'd skin every last nigger on this place but 
Fd find out who done it, s'l; 'n' moreover, s'l — " 

"A dozen says yovi\— forty couldn't 'a' done every- 
thing that's been done. Look at them case-knife 
saws and things, how tedious they've been made; 
look at that bed-leg sawed off with 'm, a week's 
work for six men: look at that nigger made out'n 
straw on the bed; and look at — " 

"You may well say it. Brer Hightower! It's jist 
as I was a-sayin' to Brer Phelps, his own self. S'e, 
what do you think of it, Sister Hotchkiss ? s'e. Think 
o' what, Brer Phelps? s'L Think o' that bed-leg 
sawed off that a way? s'e. Think of it? s'L I lay 
it never sawed itself off, s'l — somebody sawed it, s'l; 
that's my opinion, take it or leave it, it mayn't be 
no 'count, s'l, but sich as 't is, it's my opinion, s'l, 
'n' if anybody k'n start a better one, s'l, let him do 
it, s'l, that's all. I says to Sister Dunlap, s'l — " 

"Why, dog my cats, they must 'a' ben a house-full 
o' niggers in there every night for four weeks to 'a' 
done all that work, Sister Phelps. Look at that 
shirt — every last inch of it kivered over with secret 
African writ'n done with blood! Must 'a' ben a raft 
uv 'm at it right along, all the time, amost. Why, 
I'd give two dollars to have it read to me; 'n' as for 
the niggers that wrote it, I 'low I'd take 'n' lash 'm 
t'll— " 

387 



MARK TWAIN 

"People to help him, Brother Marples! Well, I 
reckon you'd think so if you'd 'a' been in this house 
for a while back. Why, they've stole everything 
they could lay their hands on — and we a-watching 
all the time, mind you. They stole that shirt right 
off o' the line! and as for that sheet they made the 
rag ladder out of, ther' ain't no telling how many 
times they didn't steal that; and flour, and candles, 
and candlesticks, and spoons, and the old warming- 
pan, and most a thousand things that I disremember 
now, and my new calico dress ; and me and Silas and 
my Sid and Tom on the constant watch day and 
night, as I was a-telling you, and not a one of us 
could catch hide nor hair nor sight nor sound of 
them; and here at the last minute, lo and behold 
you, they slides right in under our noses and fools 
us, and not only fools us but the Injun Territory 
robbers too, and actuly gets away with that nigger 
safe and sound, and that with sixteen men and twenty- 
two dogs right on their very heels at that very time ! 
I tell you, it just bangs anything I ever heard of. 
Why, sperits couldn't 'a' done better and been no 
smarter. And I reckon they must 'a' been sperits — 
because, you know our dogs, and ther' ain't no better; 
well, them dogs never even got on the track oi 'm once ! 
You explain that to me if you can! — any of you!" 

"Well, it does beat— " 

"Laws alive, I never — " 

"So help me, I wouldn't 'a' be—" 

" //ows^- thieves as well as — " 

"Goodnessgracioussakes, I'd 'a' ben afeard to live 
in sich a — " 

338 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

'"Fraid to live! — why, I was that scared I dasn't 
hardly go to bed, or get up, or lay down, or set 
down. Sister Ridgeway. Why, they'd steal the very 
— why, goodness sakes, you can guess what kind of 
a fluster / was in by the time midnight come last 
night. I hope to gracious if I warn't afraid they'd 
steal some o' the family! I was just to that pass I 
didn't have no reasoning faculties no more. It looks 
foolish enough now, in the daytime; but I says to 
myself, there's my two poor boys asleep, 'way up- 
stairs in that lonesome room, and I declare to good- 
ness I was that uneasy 't I crep' up there and locked 
'em in! 1 did. And anybody would. Because, you 
know, when you get scared that way, and it keeps 
running on, and getting worse and worse all the 
time, and your wits gets to addling, and you get to 
doing all sorts o' wild things, and by and by you 
think to yourself, spos'n I was a boy, and was away 
up there, and the door ain't locked, and you — " 
She stopped, looking kind of wondering, and then 
she turned her head around slow, and when her 
eye lit on me — I got up and took a walk. 

Says I to myself, I can explain better how we come 
to not be in that room this morning if I go out to 
one side and study over it a little. So I done it. 
But I dasn't go fur, or she'd 'a' sent for me. And 
when it was late in the day the people all went, and 
then I come in and told her the noise and shooting 
waked up me and *'Sid," and the door was locked, 
and we wanted to see the fun, so we went down the 
lightning-rod, and both of us got hurt a little, and 
we didn't never want to try that no more. And then 

389 



MARK TWAIN 

I went on and told her all what I told Uncle Silas 
before; and then she said she'd forgive us, and maybe 
it was all right enough anyway, and about what a 
body might expect of boys, for all boys was a pretty 
harum-scarum lot as fur as she could see; and so, as 
long as no harm hadn't come of it, she judged she 
better put in her time being grateful we was alive 
and well and she had us still, stead of fretting over 
what was past and done. So then she kissed me, 
and patted me on the head, and dropped into a kind 
of a brown-study ; and pretty soon jumps up, and says : 

''Why, lawsamercy, it's most night, and Sid not 
come yet! What has become of that boy?" 

I see my chance; so I skips up and says: 

''I'll run right up to town and get him," I says. 

*'No you won't," she says. "You'll stay right 
wher* you are; one's enough to be lost at a time. If 
he ain't here to supper, your uncle '11 go." 

Well, he warn't there to supper; so right after 
supper uncle went. 

He come back about ten a little bit uneasy; hadn't 
run across Tom's track. Aunt Sally was a good deal 
uneasy; but Uncle Silas he said there warn't no 
occasion to be — boys will be boys, he said, and you'll 
see this one turn up in the morning all sound and 
right. So she had to be satisfied. But she said 
she'd set up for him awhile anyway, and keep a light 
burning so he could see it. 

And then when I went up to bed she come up with 
me and fetched her candle, and tucked me in, and 
mothered me so good I felt mean, and like I couldn't 
look her in the face; and she set down on the bed 

390 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

and talked with me a long time, and said what a 
splendid boy Sid was, and didn't seem to want to 
ever stop talking about him; and kept asking me 
every now and then if I reckoned he could 'a' got 
lost, or hurt, or maybe drownded, and might be 
laying at this minute somewheres suffering or dead, 
and she not by him to help him, and so the tears 
would drip down silent, and I would tell her that 
Sid was all right, and would be home in the morning, 
sure; and she would squeeze my hand, or maybe kiss 
me, and tell me to say it again, and keep on saying 
it, because it done her good, and she was in so much 
trouble. And when she was going away she looked 
down in my eyes so steady and gentle, and says: 

**The door ain't going to be locked, Tom, and 
there's the window and the rod; but you'll be good, 
■won't you? And you won't go? For my sake." 

Laws knows I wanted to go bad enough to see 
about Tom, and w^as all intending to go; but after 
that I wouldn't 'a' went, not for kingdoms. 

But she was on my mind and Tom was on my 
mind, so I slept very restless. And twice I went 
down the rod away in the night, and slipped around 
front, and see her setting there by her candle in the 
window with her eyes towards the road and the 
tears in them; and I wished I could do something for 
her, but I couldn't, only to swear that I wouldn't 
never do nothing to grieve her any more. And the 
third time I waked up at dawn, and sHd down, and 
she was there yet, and her candle was most out, and 
her old gray head was resting on her hand, and she 
was asleep. 
26 



CHAPTER XLII 

THE old man was up-town again before breakfast, 
but couldn't get no track of Tom; and both of 
them set at the table thinking, and not saying noth- 
ing, and looking mournful, and their coffee getting 
cold, and not eating anything. And by and by the 
old man says: 

"Did I give you the letter?" 

"What letter?" 

"The one I got yesterday out of the post-office." 

"No, you didn't give me no letter." 

"Well, I must 'a' forgot it." 

So he rummaged his pockets, and then went off 
somewheres where he had laid it down, and fetched 
it, and give it to her. She says: 

"Why, it's from St. Petersburg — it's from Sis." 

I allowed another walk would do me good; but I 
couldn't stir. But before she could break it open 
she dropped it and run — for she see something. And 
so did I. It was Tom Sawyer on a mattress; and 
that old doctor; and Jim, in her calico dress, with his 
hands tied behind him; and a lot of people. I hid 
the letter behind the first thing that come handy, and 
rushed. She flung herself at Tom, crying, and says: 

"Oh, he's dead, he's dead, I know he's dead!" 

And Tom he turned his head a little, and muttered 
392 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

something or other, which showed he warn't in his 
right mind; then she flung up her hands, and says: 

''He's ahve, thank God! And that's enough!" 
and she snatched a kiss of him, and flew for the 
house to get the bed ready, and scattering orders 
right and left at the niggers and everybody else, as 
fast as her tongue could go, every jump of the way. 

I followed the men to see what they was going 
to do with Jim; and the old doctor and Uncle Silas 
followed after Tom into the house. The men was 
very huffy, and some of them wanted to hang Jim 
for an example to all the other niggers around there, 
so they wouldn't be trying to run away like Jim done, 
and making such a raft of trouble, and keeping a 
whole family scared most to death for days and 
nights. But the others said, don't do it, it wouldn't 
answer at all; he ain't our nigger, and his owner 
would turn up and make us pay for him, sure. So 
that cooled them down a little, because the people 
that's always the most anxious for to hang a nigger 
that hain't done just right is always the very ones 
that ain't the most anxious to pay for him when 
they've got their satisfaction out of him. 

They cussed Jim considerble, though, and give him 
a cuff or two side the head once in a while, but Jim 
never said nothing, and he never let on to know me, 
and they took him to the same cabin, and put his 
own clothes on him, and chained him again, and not 
to no bed-leg this time, but to a big staple drove into 
the bottom log, and chained his hands, too, and 
both legs, and said he warn't to have nothing but 
bread and water to eat after this till his owner come, 

393 



MARK TWAIN 

or he was sold at auction because he didn't come in a 
certain length of time, and filled up our hole, and 
said a couple of farmers with guns must stand watch 
around about the cabin every night, and a bulldog 
tied to the door in the daytime; and about this time 
they was through with the job and was tapering off 
with a kind of generl good -by cussing, and then 
the old doctor comes and takes a look, and says: 

** Don't be no rougher on him than you're obleeged 
to, because he ain't a bad nigger. When I got to 
where I found the boy I see I couldn't cut the bullet 
out without some help, and he warn't in no condition 
for me to leave to go and get help; and he got a 
little worse and a little worse, and after a long time 
he went out of his head, and wouldn't let me come 
a-nigh him any more, and said if I chalked his raft 
he'd kill me, and no end of wild foolishness like that, 
and I see I couldn't do anything at all with him; so 
I says, I got to have help somehow; and the minute 
I says it out crawls this nigger from somewheres and 
says he'll help, and he done it, too, and done it very 
well. Of course I judged he must be a runaway 
nigger, and there I was! and there I had to stick 
right straight along all the rest of the day and all 
night. It was a fix, I tell you! I had a couple of 
patients with the chills, and of course I'd of liked to 
run up to town and see them, but I dasn't, because 
the nigger might get away, and then I'd be to blame; 
and yet never a skiff come close enough for me to 
hail. So there I had to stick plumb until daylight 
this morning; and I never see a nigger that was a 
better nuss or faithfuler, and yet he was risking 

394 



J 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

his freedom to do it, and was all tired out, too, and 
I see plain enough he'd been worked main hard 
lately. I liked the nigger for that ; I tell you, gentle- 
men, a nigger like that is worth a thousand dollars — 
and kind treatment, too. I had everything I needed, 
and the boy was doing as well there as he would *a' 
done at home — better, maybe, because it was so 
quiet; but there I was, with both of 'm on my hands, 
and there I had to stick till about dawn this morning ; 
then some men in a skiff come by, and as good luck 
would have it the nigger was setting by the pallet 
with his head propped on his knees sound asleep; so 
I motioned them in quiet, and they slipped up on 
him and grabbed him and tied him before he knowed 
what he was about, and we never had no trouble. 
And the boy being in a kind of a flighty sleep, too, 
we muffled the oars and hitched the raft on, and 
towed her over very nice and quiet, and the nigger 
never made the least row nor said a word from the 
start. He ain't no bad nigger, gentlemen; that's 
what I think about him." 

Somebody says: 

"Well, it sounds very good, doctor, I'm obleeged 
to say." 

Then the others softened up a little, too, and I was 
mighty thankful to that old doctor for doing Jim that 
good turn; and I was glad it was according to my 
judgment of him, too; because I thought he had a 
good heart in him and was a good man the first time 
I see him. Then they all agreed that Jim had acted 
very well, and was deserving to have some notice 
took of it, and reward. So every one of them 

395 



MARK TWAIN 

promised, right out and hearty, that they wouldn't 
cuss him no more. 

Then they come out and locked him up. I hoped 
they was going to say he could have one or two of the 
chains took off, because they was rotten heavy, or 
could have meat and greens with his bread and 
water; but they didn't think of it, and I reckoned 
it wam't best for me to mix in, but I judged I'd get 
the doctor's yarn to Aunt Sally somehow or other as 
soon as I'd got through the breakers that was laying 
just ahead of me — explanations, I mean, of how I 
forgot to mention about Sid being shot when I was 
telling how him and me put in that dratted night 
paddling around hunting the runaway nigger. 

But I had plenty time. Aunt Sally she stuck to 
the sick-room all day and all night, and every time 
I see Uncle Silas mooning around I dodged him. 

Next morning I heard Tom was a good deal better, 
and they said Aunt Sally was gone to get a nap. So 
I slips to the sick-room, and if I found him awake I 
reckoned we could put up a yarn for the family that 
would wash. But he was sleeping, and sleeping very 
peaceful, too; and pale, not fire-faced the way he was 
when he come. So I set down and laid for him to 
wake. In about half an hour Aunt Sally comes glid- 
ing in, and there I was, up a stump again ! She mo- 
tioned me to be still, and set down by me, and begun 
to whisper, and said we could all be joyful now, be- 
cause all the symptoms was first-rate, and he'd been 
sleeping like that for ever so long, and looking better 
and peacefuler all the time, and ten to one he'd 
wake up in his right mind. 

396 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

So we set there watching, and by and by he stirs a 
bit, and opened his eyes very natural, and takes a 
look, and says: 

''Hello! — why, I'm at home! How's that? 
Where's the raft?" 

"It's all right," I says. 

"And JimT' 

"The same," I says, but couldn't say it pretty 
brash. But he never noticed, but says: 

Good ! Splendid ! Now we're all right and safe ! 
Didyou tell Aunty?" 

I was going to say yes ; but she chipped in and says : 

"About what, Sid?" 

"Why, about the way the whole thing was done." 

"What whole thing?" 

"Why, the whole thing. There ain't but one; how 
we set the runaway nigger free — me and Tom." 

"Good land! Set the run — What is the child 
talking about! Dear, dear, out of his head again!" 

''No, I ain't out of my head; I know all what I'm 
talking about. We did set him free — me and Tom. 
We laid out to do it, and we done it. And we done 
it elegant, too." He'd got a start, and she never 
checked him up, just set and stared and stared, and 
let him clip along, and I see it warn't no use for me to 
put in. "Why, Aunty, it cost us a power of work — 
weeks of it — hours and hours, every night, whilst you 
was all asleep. And we had to steal candles, and the 
sheet, and the shirt, and your dress, and spoons, and 
tin plates, and case-knives, and the warming-pan, and 
the grindstone, and flour, and just no end of things, 
and you can't think what work it was to make the 

397 



MARK TWAIN 

saws, and pens, and inscriptions, and one thing or 
another, and you can't think half the fun it was. 
And we had to make up the pictures of coffins and 
things, and nonnamous letters from the robbers, 
and get up and down the Hghtning-rod, and dig the 
hole into the cabin, and make the rope ladder and 
send it in cooked up in a pie, and send in spoons and 
things to work with in your apron pocket — " 

"Mercy sakes!" 

" — and load up the cabin with rats and snakes and 
so on, for company for Jim ; and then you kept Tom 
here so long with the butter in his hat that you come 
near spiling the whole business, because the men come 
before we was out of the cabin, and we had to rush, 
and they heard us and let drive at us, and I got my 
share, and we dodged out of the path and let them go 
by, and when the dogs come they warn't interested in 
us, but went for the most noise, and we got our canoe, 
and made for the raft, and was all safe, and Jim was 
a free man, and we done it all by ourselves, and 
wasn't it bully. Aunty!" 

"Well, I never heard the likes of it in all my born 
days! So it was you, you little rapscallions, that's 
been making all this trouble, and turned everybody's 
wits clean inside out and scared us all most to death. 
I've as good a notion as ever I had in my life to take 
it out o' you this very minute. To think, here I've 
been, night after night, a — you just get well once, you 
young scamp, and I lay I'll tan the Old Harry out o' 
both o' ye!" 

But Tom, he was so proud and joyful, he just 
couldn't hold in, and his tongue just went it — she 

398 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

a-chipping in, and spitting fire all along, and both of 
them going it at once, like a cat convention ; and she 
says: 

Well, you get all the enjoyment you can out of it 
now, for mind I tell you if I catch you meddling with 
him again — " 

''Meddling with who?'' Tom says, dropping his 
smile and looking surprised. 

"With who? Why, the runaway nigger, of course. 
Who'd you reckon?" 

Tom looks at me very grave, and says : 

''Tom, didn't you just tell me he was all right? 
Hasn't he got away?" 

''Himf' says Aunt vSally; "the runaway nigger? 
'Deed he hasn't. They've got him back, safe and 
sound, and he's in that cabin again, on bread and 
water, and loaded down with chains, till he's claimed 
or sold!" 

Tom rose square up in bed, with his eye hot, and 
his nostrils opening and shutting like gills, and sings 
out to me: 

"They hain't no right to shut him up! Shove! — 
and don't you lose a minute. Turn him loose! he 
ain't no slave; he's as free as any cretur that walks 
this earth!" 

"What does the child mean?" 

' ' I mean every word I say, Aunt Sally, and if some- 
body don't go, /'// go. I've knowed him all his life, 
and so has Tom, there. Old Miss Watson died two 
months ago, and she was ashamed she ever was going 
to sell him down the river, and said so; and she set 
him, free in her will." 

399 



MARK TWAIN 

*'Then what on earth did you want to set him free 
for, seeing he was already free?" 

"Well, that is a question, I must say; and jtist like 
women! Why, I wanted the adventure of it; and 
I'd 'a' waded neck-deep in blood to — goodness alive, 
Aunt Polly!" 

If she warn't standing right there, just inside the 
door, looking as sweet and contented as an angel half 
full of pie, I wish I may never ! 

Aunt Sally jumped for her, and most hugged the 
head off of her, and cried over her, and I found a 
good enough place for me under the bed, for it was 
getting pretty sultry for us, seemed to me. And I 
peeped out, and in a little while Tom's Aunt Polly 
shook herself loose and stood there looking across at 
Tom over her spectacles — kind of grinding him into 
the earth, you know. And then she says: 

"Yes, you better turn y'r head away — I would if I 
was you, Tom." 

"Oh, deary me!" says Aunt Sally; ''is he changed 
so? Why, that ain't Tom, it's Sid; Tom's — Tom's 
— why, where is Tom? He was here a minute ago." 

"You mean where's Huck Finn — that's what you 
mean! I reckon I hain't raised such a scamp as my 
Tom all these years not to know him when I see him. 
That would be a pretty howdy-do. Come out from 
under that bed, Huck Finn." 

So I done it. But not feeling brash. 

Aunt Sally she was one of the mixed-upest-looking 
persons I ever see — except one, and that was Uncle 
Silas, when he come in and they told it all to him. It 
kind of made him drunk, as you may say, and he 

400 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

didn't know nothing at all the rest of the day, and 
preached a prayer-meeting sermon that night that 
gave him a rattling ruputation, because the oldest 
man in the world couldn't 'a' understood it. So Tom's 
Aunt Polly, she told all about who I was, and what; 
and I had to up and tell how I was in such a tight 
place that when Mrs. Phelps took me for Tom Sawyer 
— she chipped in and says, "Oh, go on and call me 
Aunt Sally, I'm used to it now, and 'taint no need 
to change" — that when Aunt Sally took me for Tom 
Sawyer I had to stand it — there warn't no other way, 
and I knowed he wouldn't mind, because it would 
be nuts for him, being a mystery, and he'd make an 
adventure out of it, and be perfectly satisfied. And 
so it turned out, and he let on to be Sid, and made 
things as soft as he could for me. 

And his Aunt Polly she said Tom was right about 
old Miss Watson setting Jim free in her will ; and so, 
sure enough, Tom Sawyer had gone and took all that 
trouble and bother to set a free nigger free! and I 
couldn't ever understand before, until that minute 
and that talk, how he could help a body set a nigger 
free with his bringing-up. 

Well, Aunt Polly she said that when Aunt Sally 
wrote to her that Tom and Sid had come all right 
and safe, she says to herself: 

"Look at that, now! I might have expected it, 
letting him go off that way without anybody to 
watch him. So now I got to go and trapse all the 
way down the river, eleven hundred mile, and find 
out what that creetur's up to this time, as long as I 
couldn't seem to get any answer out of you about it." 

401. 



MARK TWAIN 

"Why, I never heard nothing from you," says 
Aunt Sally. 

"Well, I wonder! Why, I wrote you twice to ask 
you what you could mean by Sid being here." 

"Well, I never got 'em. Sis." 

Aunt Polly she turns around slow and severe, and 
says: 

"You, Tom!" 

"Well — what?'' he says, kind of pettish. 

"Don't you what me, you impudent thing — hand 
out them letters." 

"What letters?" 

"Them letters. I be bound, if I have to take 
a-holt of you I'll—" 

"They're in the trunk. There, now. And they're 
just the same as they was when I got them out of 
the office. I • hain't looked into them, I hain't 
touched them. But I knowed they'd make trouble, 
and I thought if you warn't in no hurry, I'd — " 

"Well, you do need skinning, there ain't no mis- 
take about it. And I wrote another one to tell you 
I was coming; and I s'pose he — " 

"No, it come yesterday; I hain't read it yet, but 
ifs all right, I've got that one." 

I wanted to offer to bet two dollars she hadn't, 
but I reckoned maybe it was just as safe to not to. 
So I never said nothing. 



CHAPTER THE LAST 

THE first time I catched Tom private I asked him 
what was his idea, time of the evasion? — what 
it was he'd planned to do if the evasion worked all 
right and he managed to set a nigger free that was 
already free before? And he said, what he had 
planned in his head from the start, if we got Jim out 
all safe, was for us to run him down the river on the 
raft, and have adventures plumb to the mouth of 
the river, and then tell him about his being free, and 
take him back up home on a steamboat, in style, and 
pay him for his lost time, and write word ahead and 
get out all the niggers around, and have them waltz 
him into town with a torchlight procession and a 
brass-band, and then he would be a hero, and so 
would we. But I reckoned it was about as well the 
way it was. 

We had Jim out of the chains in no time, and 
when Aunt Polly and Uncle Silas and Aunt Sally 
found out how good he helped the doctor nurse Tom, 
they made a heap of fuss over him, and fixed him up 
prime, and give him all he wanted to eat, and a good 
time, and nothing to do. And we had him up to the 
sick-room, and had a high talk; and Tom give Jim- 
forty dollars for being prisoner for us so patient, and 
doing it up so good, and Jim was pleased most to 
death, and busted out, and says: 

403 



MARK TWAIN 

''Dah, now, Huck, what I tell you? — what I tell 
you up dah on Jackson Islan' ? I tole you I got a 
hairy breas', en what's de sign un it; en I tole you 
I ben rich wunst, en gwineter to be rich ag'in; en 
it's come true; en heah she is! Dah, now! doan' 
talk to mc — signs is signs, mine I tell you; en I 
knowed jis' 's well 'at I 'uz gwineter be rich ag'in as 
I's a-stannin' heah dis minute!" 

And then Tom he talked along and talked along, 
and says, le's all three slide out of here one of these 
nights and get an outfit, and go for howling adven- 
tures amongst the Injuns, over in the territory, for 
a couple of weeks or two; and I says, all right, that 
suits me, but I ain't got no money for to buy the 
outfit, and I reckon I couldn't get none from home, 
because it's likely pap's been back before now, and 
got it all away from Judge Thatcher and drunk 
it up. 

"No, he hain't," Tom says; "it's all there yet — 
six thousand dollars and more; and your pap hain't 
ever been back since. Hadn't when I come away, 
anyhow. ' ' 

Jim says, kind of solemn: 

"He ain't a-comin' back no mo', Huck." 

I says: 

"Why, Jim?" 

"Nemmine why, Huck — but he ain't comin' back 
no mo'." 

But I kept at him; so at last he says: 

"Doan' you 'member de house dat was float 'n 
down de river, en dey wuz a man in dah, kivered 
up, en I went in en unkivered him and didn' let you 

404 



HUCKLEBERRY FINN 

come in? Well, den, you kin git yo' money when 
you wants it, kase dat wuz him." 

Tom's most well now, and got his bullet around 
his neck on a watch-guard for a watch, and is al- 
ways seeing what time it is, and so there ain't nothing 
more to write about, and I am rotten glad of it, 
because if I'd 'a' knowed what a trouble it was to 
make a book I wouldn't 'a' tackled it, and ain't 
a-going to no more. But I reckon I got to light out 
for the territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt 
Sally she's going to adopt me and sivilize me, and 
I can't stand it. I been there before. 



THE END